The Expressive Use Of Colour

This new painting represents a real break through for me.  This post is all about explaining why it’s a break through.

First here is the original photo from our trip to Vancouver, April 2016.

Rex Beanland, Granville Street

The Original Photo











At first it didn’t speak to me except for the nice contrast between the darks and the sun lit pavement.  Recently I was looking at it and I saw it completely differently.  First I thought I could improve the composition.  Take out the guy with the walker and bring that girl right at the left edge into a more prominent place.  Here is what that looks like.

Rex Beanland, Granville Street

Granville Street Final Composition












The real break through came just a week ago when I started to see a real story here.  Specifically I started to see that fabulous arrangement of the buses and cars.  I clearly saw it as one shape.  This lead me to think about taking this complex shape of all the vehicles and making it the real dark element.  Then all the other darks surrounding this main shape could be lightened and down played.  Here is a photo that shows what that would look like.


Rex Beanland, Granville Street

The Final Version













Now to my eye this is a far more compelling story.  It draws your eye right in and makes the sun lit street even brighter.  Now I had the image to paint.  For some reason I just felt that I wanted to do it as virtually a monochromatic painting using cobalt blue.  I’m calling that the expressive use of colour because it does add a unique flavour to the painting and increases the sense of light.

Here is the final painting which I just finished today.

Rex Beanland, Granville Street, 19 x 23, watercolour

Granville Street
















I’m very pleased with it because I think it has a great sense of light, a compelling centre of interest and a nice story to tell.  In fact it represents a major break through for me.

Can’t wait to go through some of the other photos from that trip!


Rex Beanland, Granville Street with masking film

Just for those who like minutia here is a shot of the beginning of the painting.  You can see that I covered the entire bottom with masking film.  I’m usually a fairly messy painter so this allowed me to keep the foreground extremely clean.


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