Category Archives: Art Blog

And Besides The Gibson’s Workshop . . .

This is the second part of our experience at the Gibson’s workshop.  This one covers everything besides the workshop.  The post about the workshop is available here.

Some Scenes From  Gibson’s Landing

Rex Beanland, Gibson's Landing, BC









Rex Beanland, Gibson's Landing, BC








Rex Beanland, Gibson's Landing, BC










Rex Beanland, Gibson's Landing, BC

Rex Beanland, Gibson's Landing, BC

















A Special Event

While we were in Gibsons they were filming a Hallmark Movie called “Carousel Christmas’.  The movie will be on the Hallmark channel probably by Christmas.

It was amazing as they transformed Gibson’s in the summer into a winter scene.  Here are some shots of the filming. When went down to the dock after the workshop to get these shots the temperature was 34 degrees C.  The extras were dressed in sweaters, coats and scarves.  By the magic of movies when people see the movie in December it will appear to be like winter instead of a sweltering summer day.

Rex Beanland, Gibsons Workshop

Extras in 34 degrees C












They brought in truck loads of chipped ice. Working with this might have been the best job on this day.

Rex Beanland, Gibsons Workshop

Snow Truck










They made the dock look like it was covered in snow but they had to replace it frequently because it was so hot.  You see from this photo that life went on right  around the filming.  People still walked up and down the dock and at various times there were quite a few people hanging over the railing to watch the show.

Rex Beanland, Gibsons Workshop

Extras and snow












Filming a night scene.

Rex Beanland, Gibsons Workshop

Shooting movie at night











We got talking to one of the crew and we hit it off so he took us down the stairs to the set.  We were just a few feet away from the action as the 2 lead actors hit their marks.  We would be just behind the camera that you see at the bottom.  Our new friend  got us through security by saying we were his aunt and uncle.  What an experience!!!

Rex Beanland, Gibsons Workshop

Filming at night










Because of Susan and my work with video for many years we are very interested in the movie making process.  So when we left the shoot the only comment I could make is, “This is unbelieveable!” 

A New Painting Done In Gibson’s

Just to finish this post off.  I also completed one painting just for my own enjoyment, a scene from the harbour.

Rex Beanland, All Quiet In Gibson's Harbour, watercolour, 14 x 18

All Quiet In Gibson’s Harbour












So not only was the workshop an unforgettable experience there were all these other things that were so special.  

I’m using the word a ‘magical‘ to describe our experience in Gibson’s and I think it’s the right word.

Workshop In Beautiful Whistler

This August I was given the tremendous opportunity of teaching a workshop in beautiful Whistler, BC.  It was Susan and my first time there.

The workshop took place in a building that is devoted to art. It is surely one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever been to, right on Alta Lake.  Here is the scene from the deck.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

The Workshop Location











I’ve learned that there is a tremendous benefit to taking time to play and practice the basics of watercolour before we jump into the ‘big’ painting.  I’ve also designed a number of little exercises that introduce the elements of the urban landscape in a fun and stress free way.  So now in my workshops we take the first day to do do these activities.  Stress free, lots of fun but full of learning.  When we start the actual demo everyone is already familiar with everything they are going to paint.  One of the things we practice is how to draw and paint cars.  Here are the student samples as well as my own.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Car Scenes











Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Rex’s Car








It was a really neat experience because some of the participants were very new to watercolour.  I have found that with new comers when they master the little things in these practice exercises they can progress tremendously quickly.

The main demo I did was a scene of Jasper Ave in Edmonton.  It uses the elements of the actual scene but takes them in a completely different direction. Here is the original photo.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Jasper Ave










Because none of us got the painting finished I said I would illustrate the steps I took to complete my painting.

First, here is my painting at the end of the workshop.

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave at end of workshop, watercolour, 15 x 20

Jasper Ave at end of workshop











When I looked at it back in my studio I felt that it needed more strength (more value).  So here is the second stage.

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave second stage, watercolour, 15 x 20

Jasper Ave second stage











If I had accomplished this value with my first wash it would have had greater luminance but for  all that it’s not bad and I feel that the value is much more what I wanted.

Then here is the finished painting.

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave Final, watercolour, 15 x 20

Jasper Ave












I’m very happy with this.  I’m also very happy with the student examples.  Even though they really just got started you can see how vibrant and colourful they are.  This strength is something that most beginning watercolourists really struggle to achieve.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Student version (WIP)

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Student Sample 2 (WIP)

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Student Example 3

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Student Example 1

































One student did finish her painting and sent me a copy.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Workshop

Student Example Finished










I was more than pleased with how much everyone learned.  It was a wonderful group, enthusiastic, generous and friendly.

Rex Beanland, Whistler Class Photo,

Class Photo










I was so pleased to be invited to teach in Whistler and so  pleased to meet everyone.  I’m finding that the most satisfying part of the workshop is the connection that is made with the participants.

Happy painting in the future to all.


Putting The Urban Landscape Into Perspective

I’ve become very interested in the perspective of looking down on buildings. It’s interesting mainly because it’s a different way to look at things and therefore it takes us a little out of our comfort zone painting-wise.

This is the view from my mother-in-law’s 32nd floor apartment in Winnipeg.  

Rex Beanland, Winnipeg From The 32nd Floor, watercolour, 16 x 20

Winnipeg From The 32nd Floor

What Makes This Painting Interesting

I’m still playing with this subject to work out all the kinks but I think it’s worth the effort.  It presents a number of challenges but also a number of rewards.  One interesting element is the  perspective of looking down which by itself makes this an interesting subject.  Another thing that makes it interesting is that it includes some experimental watercolour techniques that give it a special look.  In this case the buildings in the background were put in using lots of water and lots of letting the paint do it’s own thing.

Also, the centre of interest is really strong.  The centre of interest consists of the the dark shadow on the road and all the people and cars near the sidewalk.

Painting and drawing this perspective was a great challenge but it offers great rewards. I plan to continue exploring this subject.

Presentation Of My Painting At The Calgary Stampede

I received one of the biggest honours of my art career this year.  I was commissioned to do the official sponsorship painting.  The theme was The Calgary Stampede, Community Spirit, Community Involvement.  Copies will be made and given to all the major sponsors.  

It was are real challenge for me because I’m not really a western artist and this was the first time I have ever painted horses.  I’m very pleased because I think they look like horses.  It’s also quite large for a watercolour, 24 x 36.

Rex Beanland, Calgary Stampede, Community Spirit, Community Involvement, watercolour 24 x 36

Calgary Stampede, Community Spirit, Community Involvement











There was an official presentation of the painting in a very exclusive saloon for the sponsors.  Everything was absolutely first class and as the official artist, my wife, Susan and I were treated like royalty.  Wonderful dinner and front row seats to the chuckwagon races and the Grandstand Show.  A night to remember and as I mentioned a great honour.

The painting was officially unveiled and there was a lot of interest in it.  I was particularly pleased because many people there were real horse people and they all OK’d my efforts.


Rex Beanland, With Vice Chair, Dana Peers and CEO, Warren Connell, Stampede Presentation

With Vice Chair, Dana Peers and CEO, Warren Connell









Rex Beanland, With Dana Peers, Vice Chair of Calgary Stampede, Stampede Presentation

With Dana Peers, Vice Chair of Calgary Stampede










Rex Beanland, Unveiling The Painting, Stampede Presentation

Unveiling The Painting














Rex Beanland, People Take Photos, Stampede Presentation










Rex Beanland, There was a lot of interest in the painting, Stampede Presentation, Stampede Presentation

There was a lot of interest in the painting








Rex Beanland, Some of the wives were very interested in art, Stampede Presentation

Some of the wives were very interested in art










I no idea years ago when I started painting that there would be such pleasant surprises in store.

Many thanks to the Calgary Stampede.

Plein Air Paintings From Trip To Whitehorse

I recently posted about our wonderful RV trip to Whitehorse.  I still look back with great appreciation for that trip.  As well as going there to experience that area of Canada which I had never seen before it was a painting trip and a very productive one!

Here are some of the paintings that were done on the trip.

Jasper as mentioned previously was a real surprise.

Rex Beanland, Jasper 1, watercolour, 11 x 14

Jasper 1









Rex Beanland, Jasper 2, watercolour, 11 x 14

Jasper 2










My favourite RV camp was right in the centre of Grande Prairie on the reservoir. These 2 works were done just beside our campsite.

Rex Beanland, Sunrise, Grande Prairie, watercolour, 11 x 15

Sunrise, Grande Prairie










Rex Beanland, Early Morning Grande Prairie, watercolour, 11 x 15

Early Morning Grande Prairie










One time when we pulled off the highway and just followed a dirt road we discovered this scene which was very different for me but  a lot of fun to paint.


Rex Beanland, Fort Nelson Creek, watercolour, 11 x 14

Fort Nelson Creek










I spent 1 day painting on the streets of Whitehorse.


Rex Beanland, Downtown Whitehorse, watercolour, 11 x 15

Downtown Whitehorse










This  last painting was not done plein air but from a photo back in the studio.  Interestingly it was done in a style that I use for transparent portraits ie lots of light glazes.  The rocks on the left probably have 10 glazes as does the water.  This approach gives it a great sense of depth.


Rex Beanland, Athabaska Falls, watercolour, 18 x 14

Athabaska Falls
















One real gift that comes from being an artist is the ability to travel – with purpose.  The purpose being to paint.  It gives much greater significance to everything that is seen.  I can’t wait to got back ‘Up North’ again!

North To Whitehorse

In May we took a 10 day one way RV trip to Whitehorse.  I’ve always wanted to go north and this is the furthest that I’ve been.

It was a painting trip for both of us.  RV’s are fabulous for painting since you can stop anywhere and you can paint inside or out but you also have your home right with you so there is no rush to finish. Of all the sights we saw I would have to say that the most surprising to me were in Jasper National Park.  I’ve never been to this park before but it has excellent painting subjects.  This scene was at a roadside turnout about 45 minutes north of Lake Louise.

Rex Beanland, Mountain In Jasper & My Painting

Mountain In Jasper & My Painting












This view was 10 minutes further up the highway.  I loved the colour of these mountains.  They seemed to be drenched in violets and blues my favourite colour combination.

Rex Beanland, Another Mountain In Jasper

Another Mountain In Jasper











Just before getting to the town of Jasper we stopped at Athabaska Falls.  I don’t know how I had missed hearing of this place.  It’s a powerful and dramatic location not only with the falls but the many fascinating trails through the rocks.

Rex Beanland, Athabaska Falls

Athabaska Falls
















Rex Beanland, Susan & Me At Athabaska Falls

Susan & Me At Athabaska Falls













The next surprise for me was Grande Prairie.  Partially because it’s the largest city in the north and partially because we stayed at a RV park right beside the reservoir which offered this stunning view early the next morning.


Rex Beanland, Sunrise, Grande Prairie

Sunrise, Grande Prairie












We enjoyed being there so much that we set up and painted all morning.

Rex Beanland, Painting in Grande Prairie

Painting in Grande Prairie












From there we got on the Alaska Highway and at the northern tip of BC we came across another unexpected treat.  In the middle of nowhere is the Liard Hotsprings, a beautiful, natural hotspring.  Due to it’s popularity they have a provincial park campground right there.  The water bubbles up from the ground at one end of this pool (you can just see the rocks that surround it on the right) and as you get closer to the source the water gets VERY, VERY, dangerously hot but there are also some small cool streams that make the water warm but lovely.  It was so neat to have the dirt banks and the vegetation right on the water.

Rex Beanland, Laird Hotsprings

Laird Hotsprings














We saw signs on the highway saying watch out for wild buffalo but we mocked them thinking that there are no wild buffalo.  We discovered that there are many of them and they love the side of the highway.  We were calling them bison but have been informed that they are actuallly Wood Buffalo.

Rex Beanland, Wood Buffalo Herd

Wood Buffalo Herd












Rex Beanland, Wood Buffalo & Me

Wood Buffalo & Me












I’ve never seen buffalo play before but this 30 second video clip shows that they have a lot of fun.


Wood Bison At Play from Rex Beanland on Vimeo.



Finally into the Yukon.

Rex Beanland, Welcome to Yukon Rex & Susan

Welcome to Yukon














There are about 38,000 people in the entire Yukon and 28,000 live in Whitehorse so there are really no other large towns and people are very spread out.  One of the larger places is Watson Lake (pop about 1000).  It’s famous for it’s sign forest.

Rex Beanland, Watson Lake Sign Forest

Watson Lake Sign Forest












Finally we reached Whitehorse which is a lovely town.  In many ways it seems like any other small town but there is this neat feeling that you are very far north.

Rex Beanland, Painting In Downtown Whitehorse

Painting In Downtown Whitehorse



Rex Beanland, SS Klondike

SS Klondike, Whitehorse





















My new friend Charlene holding my painting.

Rex Beanland, Charlene & My Painting

Charlene & My Painting












It was a great trip. It was very interesting to me because whenever I have heard people talk about going to the arctic circle or beyond they always say there is something special, almost spiritual about it and I must admit that I felt something being in Whitehorse.  It affected me so much that I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea of returning to go all the way to Tuktoyaktuk.  Susan has no interest in that trip but who knows it may happen.

Transparent Watercolour Portrait Workshop

Another great weekend at the Leighton Centre for my Transparent Watercolour Portrait Workshop.  I really love spending a weekend with a group of people who are eager to learn. This was a group like that . . . plus there aren’t many places as beautiful as the Leighton Centre.

One thing that I continue to learn is how useful and enjoyable it is to do little practices before getting down to the serious business of doing a complete painting.  It’s liberating as well as so very useful to practice the various skills separately before putting them together in a painting.  

Here is the first little practice we did.  It’s easy to create this very attractive painting but it includes some valuable skills in particular the ability to soften edges.

Rex Beanland, students' bridesmaids, watercolour










The next little practice incorporates all the skills that go into the full portrait but in a small, easier study.

Rex Beanland, Student samples

Eye samples














This is the demo I did as it was at the end of the workshop.

Rex Beanland, Quizzical at end of workshop, watercolour, 18 x 14

Quizzical at end of workshop














When I got it home I felt that the extra hair on the left was too much so my trusty toothbrush took care of that.  

Rex Beanland, Quizzical. watercolour, 18 x 14
















It was definitely a fun weekend and once again made me realize how much I enjoy teaching.  The experience is also made better when you have a great group like this one.

Rex Beanland, Class Photo, Portrait Workshop

Class Photo

Leading Edge Workshop In Winnipeg

I was really pleased to be asked to do a watercolour workshop for Leading Edge Art Workshops.  The workshop was in Winnipeg.  I lived in Winnipeg for many years so it was a great opportunity to visit the city.  The workshop was fabulous.  The participants were very talented artists and extremely eager to learn which is a very exciting combination.

I was very pleased with what we accomplished.  The quality of the work was great as can be seen in these photos.  These are all works in progress.

Rex Beanland, Leading Edge Workshop

Class Paintings 1









Rex Beanland, Leading Edge Workshop

Class Paintings 2










The class wanted to keep moving forward with new content so I didn’t finish my demos during the workshop but I was asked to  take photos of the various stages as I worked on the paintings at home.

Kensington Market

This is a view from my favourite painting location, Kensington Market in Toronto.  One of my current interests is a perspective looking down so I particularly like this subject.

Here is the painting as it was at the end of the workshop. 

Rex Beanland, Another Look At Kensington, watercolour, 14 x 21

At End Of Workshop











Second stage . . .

Rex Beanland, Another Look At Kensington, watercolour, 14 x 21

2nd wash












Third stage . . .

Rex Beanland, Another Look At Kensington, watercolour, 14 x 21

3rd wash












Final stage . . .

Rex Beanland, Another Look At Kensington, watercolour, 14 x 21

Kensington Final












Jasper Ave

My second demo was a scene of Jasper Ave in Edmonton.  I love the arrangement of cars. I’ve been doing a lot of sunset themed paintings lately so I added a sunset to this scene.  Here is the painting at the end of the workshop.

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

At End Of Workshop












Stage 2 . . . adding the rest of the cars

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

2nd wash












Stage 3 . . .  adding some darks

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

3rd wash












Stage 4 . . . left side

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

4th wash












Stage 5 . . . I really wasn’t happy with the left side of the painting, so, using masking tape and a toothbrush I lifted out the entire problem area.

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

Lifting Out












Final Version . . .

Rex Beanland, Jasper Ave, watercolour, 14 x 21

Jasper Ave












Again it was a great workshop and thanks to everyone for their participation.

Rex Beanland, Leading Edge Workshop

Class Photo











I always ask participants to send me photos of their completed painting and one enthusiastic soul sent me theirs.  It has a lovely ghost like look. Well done. 

Rex Beanland, Leading Edge Workshop

Student Sample




Creating Luminous Washes In Watercolour

This is a neat little video that I deals with a super important aspect of watercolour namely how to create exciting and luminous washes.  

How To Create Interesting and Luminous Washes In Watercolour from Rex Beanland on Vimeo.

This video was included in my latest newsletter.  I try to include one or two short interesting videos per issue.  If you would like to receive the newsletter please contact me.


Studio Plein Air Painting

This post is about a little practice I’ve been doing a lot of lately.  It’s like plein air (on location) painting except it’s done in the studio.  

Sometimes after I’ve been doing a lot of ‘official’ painting I want to paint but I just want to have some fun. So I search all my photos for one that speaks to me and without any preliminary work – no thumbnails, no practice, no pondering I just quickly sketch the subject and jump right in.  I always work small sitting in front of the computer not at my painting table.  

I set a time limit of 60 – 90 minutes and work out everything on the fly.  There are always surprises that happen.  Each painting seems to include subjects or effects that I’ve never tried before and I don’t have time to think and plan I just do, in one sitting.  They aren’t always great paintings but they are always fun and I find that I learn quite a bit each time.  It’s always a surprise when I finish them and put them on the wall.  Usually I’m quite pleased.  The goal would be that some of them might end up as ‘serious’ paintings.

Here are 4 recent examples.

Rex Beanland, Looking Down On Kensington, waterecolour, 9 x 12

Looking Down On Kensington








This one did work out really well and I’m very happy with it.  I plan to use this as a teaching painting in my next workshop in Winnipeg for Leading Edge Workshops.

Rex Beanland, 2 Cars Kensington Market, watercolour, 9 x 12

2 Cars, Kensington Market









This image from my favourite location, Kensington Market is a painting that I’ve wanted to do for over a year just because of the bright yellow and red cab.










A practice for a large painting I’m doing for an up coming show.

Rex Beanland, Church, Yale, BC, watercolour, 9 x 12

Church, Yale BC










A scene from a very neat, eclectic town on the old TransCanada Highway in BC called Yale.

This little painting practice is just a fun activity that keeps me thinking painting but is relaxing and spontaneous and also does yield a number of benefits.  Very much like plein air painting but done in the comfort of the studio.  Something you might want to consider.