How To Simplify A Subject Into It’s Basic Shapes.

One of the essential skills for successful painting is the ability to look at the complexity of a subject whether it be a landscape or a city scene and to simplify it by seeing it as a collection of shapes.  The more we can simplify these shapes and connect little shapes into bigger ones the easier painting becomes.  This little video illustrates the process with a subject from downtown Calgary.


This is another painting that I did as part of my preparation for my workshops at the Canadian Society Of Painters In Watercolour Annual Symposium in Nova Scotia.

I’m really pleased with the sense of light and the figures but what made it much easier was to see it as it’s 3 basic shapes:  1) the background (a loose darker shape), 2) the water with a strong shadow over it and 3) the light foreground.


Rex Beanland, Woman & Child, Boston Common, watercolour, 9 x 12

Woman & Child, Boston Common

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