The Power Of Play

Lately when I meet fellow artists and they ask ‘what have you been up to’ I’ve started saying that the past few months have been an period of dedicated play. I’ve put my more ‘serious’ work aside and I’ve just tried new things. Very little of the prep work I usually do. No thumbnails, colour studies, no value studies just jump right in – mostly with photos but also some plein air work. I’ve called it by a few names such as plein air in the studio etc but what it really is is just play.

I’m posting some of the results. Some of these paintings are successful as paintings some are not but I learned from each of them. I don’t know about the wisdom of posting paintings that may not be successful. However as learning experiences they were all very successful so I’m going to do it anyway.

This one was a lot of fun. It’s exactly the look I was going for – very loose. I have always been attracted to the lines of the steps.

Rex Beanland, Olympic Plaza, watercolour, 9 x 12
Olympic Plaza

This one was an attempt to capture a mass of foliage.

Rex Beanland, Shady Path Toronto, watercolour 8 x 10
Shady Path Toronto

In preparation for my workshop in Lethbridge I wanted to try to make something of this downtown building. This is just a literal interpretation.

Rex Beanland, Lethbridge, watercolour, 9 x 12

With this one I wanted to make it a more personal statement.

Lethbridge Fantasy

This one was to put it all together. Watercolour is so good a recording a rainy day that I used that theme.

Rex Beanland, Rainy Day In Lethbridge, watercolour, 9 x 12
Rainy Day In Lethbridge

This is a return to probably my favourite location, Kensington Market in Toronto. I love the ramshackle nature of the place. Very human, very interesting. This one I am very happy with and intend to do a larger studio version.

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

I’m intrigued by this wall and really wanted to work it into a painting so I literally copied the photo. Nice idea but not successful. Major confusion around ‘what’s the painting about’. Is it the girl catching the sun or the colourful poster. Trying to make both important doesn’t work.

Rex Beanland, Girl In Kensington Market, watercolour 9 x 13
Girl In Kensington Market

A very well known artist I know said that the human eye can’t really imagine what something will look like without actually seeing it. So by doing this I could see that as much as I love the girl and the wall I have to make a choice. Can’t have the two stars competing.

So let’s focus on the girl. I like that and I like the wall now but the structure on the left is probably too busy. Again it takes away from the star of the show – the girl.

Rex Beanland, Girl Kensington Market, watercolour, 9 x 5
Girl Kensington Market

Just a few steps away from the previous painting I caught this girl on the phone. Her rich, reddish brown skin was captivating. The dark really brings her out. It’s getting hard to take photos of people without the ubiquitous cell phone.

Rex Beanland, Girl On Phone Kensington Market, watercolour, 9 x 5
Girl On Phone Kensington Market

So what is the power of play.

For me it’s exciting, quick and very focused. But above all it’s a wonderful way to explore new themes, new techniques and to learn and grow as an artist.

2 thoughts on “The Power Of Play

  1. Len Hughes

    I love the rendition of the streetscenes which i also like to do, especially incorporating people which is essential to any streetscene. Thanks for sharing and describing your motivation for the variiou scenes.

    1. Rex Beanland Post author

      Thanks a lot, Len, for your comments and for taking the time to look at my blog. All the best.


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