Monthly Archives: November 2012

Plein Air Painting


Rex Beanland, Ogden Yards, watercolour, 9 x 12












This is the painting I did last week somewhere off the Ogden Road.  Due to a late start I had about 25 minutes before it started getting dark.  By the time I had a drawing done it was already beginning to darken.  The interesting part of that situation is that due to the lack of light all I could see was value.  But since value is the crucial element in successful paintings this lack of light actually helped.

There was a fairly thick smoke coming up behind the building on the left.  I wasn’t sure how to paint that effect but I think it worked out well.

I also think that the composition is very effective.  I’m especially pleased with that because in person this building was not a particularly interesting shape.  So I think zooming in on this section does give it a bit of a story.  The truck acts as a stand in for people and humanizes the whole scene.

Ogden Yards 1
9 x 12

Rex Beanland, Ogden Yards 2, watercolour, 9 x 12











This is the painting I did the next day.  This is the full view of the building I did yesterday.  Again, concentrating on value made the entire process much easier.  As I heard at a demo last week.  Colour gets the glory but value does the work.

The technical challenge again was to represent smoke.  In both paintings I used a wet in wet approach including some chinese white.

I believe the building is the Alberta Distilleries.

Ogden Yards 2
9 x 12

Dairy Lane

Rex Beanland, Dairy Lane, watercolour, 15 x 25










This was the painting I did in my demo for The Group.  After some nice comments from a friend I’ve started seeing it in another light.    After not giving it much consideration for awhile I  now think that it’s quite interesting.  There is a nice grouping of people and it does have some sense of the atmosphere of The Dairy Lane.  I also like the red shadow.  It brings some colour to the painting.

Dairy Lane
15 x 2o

10th Ave North



Rex Beanland, 10th St Norht









From the Kensington area again there is this interesting view looking north.  I like the road disappearing up the hill and the line of trees meeting the road.  I also find it an interesting collection of shapes.  The  buildings in the background have interesting shapes and it’s a nice touch to have them up the hill.

Once again the most interesting aspect of doing this scene is the creation of a centre of interest which the photo didn’t have.  So as I’m doing all the time now I’m looking for ways to incorporate figures.

Christmas On 8th Pt2


Rex Beanland, Christmas On 8th, watercolour, 20 x 15











Rex Beanland, photo of 8th Ave, Calgary









This is the painting that I just demoed today at Paintworks Art Studio in Okotoks. It was a great workshop and it was very enjoyable meeting new people.

After I got the painting home I added a number of finishing touches.  It’s a little wild and wooly but I quite like it.  It certainly was a great experience trying to turn this scene, which is in reality a fairly simple one point perspective exercise into a watercolour lesson and teach it.   The most significant element I added was the people  and the car and trying to use them to create a story.

The bright red banners are visually a neat element.  I used cad red light gouache to paint them opaquely on top of all the other paint.

Christmas On 8th Pt2
20 x 15

Study For ‘Christmas On 8th’

Rex Beanland, Christmas On 8th (Study), watercolour, 8 x 11










Rex Beanland, Christmas On 8th (Study), watercolour, 8 X 11









I think this image has a lot of potential.  The original scene is very complicated with lots of elements including buildings, cars, a person, signs galore and whatever those large white shapes are.  My goal was to try to simplify and connect shapes.  I also wanted the painting to speak of Christmas.

Traditionally I would try to paint each window, building, car as separate shapes.  I would try to match the colours that were actually there.  Now, I want to do it differently by concentrating on value and connecting and simplifying the shapes.  This image is a step in that direction though there is still a lot of room for development.  When done well there is a unity and focus to the painting.

As mentioned in a previous post, an experimenter like me must keep trying different versions in order to work out what simplification actually looks like.  It’s so easy to recognize when we see it in a finished painting but to see it plein air is a different beast.

Because of the comments received from Shelley I’ve put up the original version of this painting.  The larger one is the same image with various darks strengthened.

This image is 8 X 11.  I’ll have another chance to do it in a larger version.  I’ll post the results.