Monthly Archives: June 2014

Springtime – The Challenge Of Painting Greens

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring this year, in part because of the long, long winter that we have had.  I continue to paint on location 2 – 3 times a week and a fact of on location painting in the springtime is ubiquitous presence of green.  I have heard many times over the years that green is one of the more challenging colours to paint.  I believe that one reason for the particular challenge of this colour is that it is so pervasive in our landscape and also because  nature displays an almost limitless variety of greens.  I doubt if any other colour in the landscape comes in so many varieties.  It is intimidating to not only get colour perspective with green i.e. having it recede into the distance but also to harness what can be an overwhelming variety of green.

This spring I seem to have been doing a lot of plein air painting that involves this green challenge.  It has been a fascinating experience to try to make sense of it all.

The challenge really began when I volunteered to do a demo for the clothesline sale at the Leighton Centre in early June.  Previously, I have used some photo that I’ve been working on as my subject for the demo.  This year I wanted the challenge of painting the actual landscape of the Leighton Centre, and the landscape at the Leighton Centre involves a lot of green.  The images that follow show some of the paintings and studies that I have done this spring that have a large amount of green in them.  I love this type of on-going challenge and I have learned a great deal from my experiments with green.

This first image is a little study I did the week before the Clothesline Sale to get familiar with the subject.

Rex Beanland, View From Leighton, watercolour 9 x 12

A study of the view from the Leighton Centre.







Rex Beanland, Demoing at the Clothesline sale, 2014

Painting my demo at the Clothesline Sale







Rex Beanland, Home In The Foothills, watercolour, 11 x 20

Home In The Foothills
11 x 20






This is a studio painting based on a view of the foothills near the Leighton Centre.

Rex Beanland, Springtime In Southern Ontario, watercolour 9 x 12

Springtime In Southern Ontario







This is a plein air study done in late May during our visit to south western Ontario.

Rex Beanland, Early morning at Olympic Plaza, watercolour 7 x 14

Early morning at Olympic Plaza






Rex Beanland, Downtown Creek, watercolour, 9 x 12

A little creek right in downtown Calgary.








This study was done on location at a little park right in the centre of Calgary.  I quite like it because it’s not obvious what it’s all about at first glance.

Rex Beanland, Bow River Pathway, 8 x 11

Bow River Pathway
8 x 11









Rex Beanland, Old Strathcona, Edmonton, watercolour, 9 x 12

A residential street in Old Strathcona, Edmonton.










This final plein air study was done in Edmonton in mid June.  I have a show coming up in Edmonton at the end of August so I spent a few days there getting reference material.  This is the area of Old Strathcona just off Whyte Ave.  I loved the thick canopy of trees.  I’m not sure what type of tree they are but they so remind me of Winnipeg.  So different from the trees of Calgary.

Whatever comes of all this work with the colour green it has been a fascinating journey and I feel so much more confident in my handling of the colour.  This is particularly useful because as I mentioned at the top of this post, the world is absolutely alive with greens particularly in the spring.