Painting the Yellow House ~ 43 Meeting Street!

Some paintings take longer than others! My painting entitled 43 Meeting Street was one of those paintings. There is a lot going on in this painting. What started out being a fun, colorful, pretty yellow house painting turned out to be fairly complex and an interesting artistic challenge.

This historic yellow home is a Charleston single home or half-house.  What appears to be the front door of the home is actually an entrance onto the first floor piazza or deck.  The actual front door is midway down the deck facing perpendicular to the street. The home is on a narrow lot and only one room wide. These types of homes were built with their piazzas facing either south or west in order take advantage of the local winds during the heat of the summer.

    43 Meeting Street    by William R. Beebe, 24 x 30, Oil on canvas, $6500

43 Meeting Street by William R. Beebe, 24 x 30, Oil on canvas, $6500

The potted plants and flowers on either side of the “front door” may be the initial focus when studying the painting, or maybe it’s the colorful, yellow façade? The decorative iron-gate catches the eye quickly and leads you into the painting. In other words, there is a lot to take in, which is the way I felt when I walked by it for the first time. I kept taking double-takes!

The more I painted the more I appreciated all of the architectural elements of the home. Therefore I painted in more detail than I originally planned. More detail in paintings isn’t always necessary or desirable, but in this case I thought it would help make a stronger painting. 

The dappled light and shadows offered a nice opportunity to have some fun with color. The yellow painted façade of the home is a relatively strong French yellow, but when the light hits it it is almost pale in color. In the shadows lavenders, blues, oranges, and ochre appear.

The dark wired foundation windows were troublesome at first and became fun to paint when I discovered that using the canvas surface with thin washes of color created an illusion of a wired surface. 

   43 Meeting Street   by William R. Beebe, detail shot

43 Meeting Street by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Dark shaded ceilings when lightened-up and examined more closely unveiled decorative coffered-like ceilings. I couldn’t live with leaving that out of my painting. 

The decorative iron-gate was time consuming just to rough in. Adding the little highlights to each rounded or flat surface that was hit by the sunlight filtering through the overhanging trees helped make the gate more three-dimensional. 

   43 Meeting Street   by William R. Beebe, gate detail shot

43 Meeting Street by William R. Beebe, gate detail shot

I had fun with painting the manhole cover, the granite curbs, the granite post and curved handrail.

They say the devil is in the details. Definition: it seemed simple at first (a pretty yellow house) but took more time and effort than expected.

I hope you like 43 Meeting Street. I’m glad I put in the effort to make it representational.

Thank you for following my art and for reading my journal. Next on the easel will be a large bird painting!  Please check back soon to see which bird it will be.  :-)

One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe

 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

The Return of the Great White ~ Egret in flight!  

Every afternoon for many days it was almost like clockwork, a Great White Egret would fly in from over the treetops, circle the pond and descend to its favorite fishing spot. On this one particular occasion I was ready with camera in hand.  As it banked its wings for landing its right wing almost touched the water and strong backlighting highlighted every feather. My latest painting entitled Great White features this particular bird.

    Great White    by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, Oil on canvas, $4500

Great White by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, Oil on canvas, $4500

I was struck by the translucency in the one wing caused by the warmth of the sun, while the other wing was opaque and cooler in color from being more shaded.  In a previous blog I wrote about the challenges of painting white subjects.  I decided to take on that challenge in this painting!

I started the translucent wing with a light orange undertone, worked in some Cadmium Yellow-medium and white to lighten the whitest of the feathers and darkened the shaded feathers while still keeping them warm in color. The shaded wing is defined with shades of lavender and Cerulean blue, picking up reflected colors from the water and sky.

The water completely surrounding the bird was another reason for choosing this composition. The darker area of water is where the eye sees through the surface into the mystery of what lies below, while the colorful water represents the reflection of the sky above. The movement in the water helps create the illusion of movement in the bird as it descends slowly.  

The simplicity of having the white egret surrounded by water reflecting the afternoon blue sky, in my mind, helps capture the serenity of the large bird’s graceful return to a place it returns to time after time. 

I enjoyed painting this large (30”by 36”) bird in-flight painting very much and am looking forward to starting another one very soon.  In fact, it might even lead to a series of in-flight paintings! 

I hope you like the painting and enjoyed reading the backstory on what my inspiration was. Thank you as always for reading my journal and for following my art!  I appreciate it very much!!!

One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

For the Love of Art ~ Charleston’s’ Gallery Phenomenon!

Charleston has always been a destination for artists because of the magic of the Lowcountry, but it hasn’t always been an art destination for collectors. Within the last couple of decades Charleston has become a city with over 70 galleries! What I find fascinating and consider to be an unusual phenomenon in the art world is that many of the top galleries are owned by artists!  

Throughout history artists have struggled to make a living, totally dependant on gallery owners to promote them and sell their work.  Many artists, including myself, have had relationships with gallery owners who came across as somewhat disconnected from the artist and appeared to be all business. 

Things are different here in Charleston!  Many of the top galleries are actually owned by very talented artists. They not only feature their own work but the work of many other artists. From our short 8 months living here and becoming involved in the art community, I have noticed a true camaraderie among gallery owners and artists. 

The gallery owners/artists have created a strong, vibrant art community, which has caught the notice of art lovers from around the world. The love of art in this town is palpable. The popular Friday Night Art Walks draw hundreds of people wanting to see the latest works by their favorite artists and discover new artists.

As an artist, I love seeing who is painting what, examining how they painted it, meeting the artists, meeting the gallery owners, and getting energized by the whole art scene. The gallery owners here in Charleston have created something special! 

Friday night we were at the first of the 2018 Art Walks and it didn’t disappoint. We stopped into the impressive Hagan Fine Art Gallery, owned by Karen Hagan. She is an accomplished Impressionist and her gallery is filled with Impressionist and Abstract works by many talented artists.  

The Anglin Smith Fine Art Gallery was hopping as usual. We had the pleasure of meeting Betty Anglin Smith, also an accomplished Impressionist, who uses bold colors and bold brushwork. Her work is complimented by the work of her twin, artist daughters, and many other fine artists. 
A must stop along the way was the Robert Lange Studios. Robert is a very talented hyperrealist artist with a creative side, frequently adding a surreal twist to his work. He has taken an historic building on Queen Street and turned it into a dramatic fine art gallery filled with the works of young and up and coming very talented artists. 

Robert was working on his latest masterpiece while we all watched over his shoulder. He was painting away, answering questions from the crowd, and was kind enough to stop and have his picture taken with me. Robert has created an art vibe there that is drawing in both young and old, and is making art cool to many who didn’t already know it!  

 William R. Beebe (left) and Robert Lange at the Robert Lange Studio.

William R. Beebe (left) and Robert Lange at the Robert Lange Studio.

Being a birder and aviary painter, I was attracted to the beautiful pastel bird art of Cecilia Murray when we walked into her gallery, Cecil Byrne Gallery on Broad Street. We had the pleasure of meeting her as she was busily answering questions from other admirers of her work.  

Marissa Vogl, also a wonderful bird artist and Abstract painter, co-owns the Meyer Vogl Gallery with artist Laura Meyer.  Marissa gave a demonstration of how she approaches her abstract paintings at one of the Mt. Pleasant Artists Guild meetings that I attended (an example of the willingness to share with other artists).  

Mark Horton, owner of the Horton Hayes Fine Art Gallery in the French Quarter, creates beautiful serene landscapes, and has a stable of top artists featured in his beautiful gallery.  

These are just a few of the artist/gallery owners who have energized Charleston’s art scene. We came home after the Friday Night Art Walk thinking how lucky we are to be involved in the art community at this particular time. In my 28 years of being an artist I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.  

I’ll be back in my studio today working on my painting of an historic, yellow home along Meeting Street with even more enthusiasm and motivation.  My next post will show the finished work.  

Thanks as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art!  It is appreciated very much! 

One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

SEWE ~ Charleston’s Southeastern Wildlife Exposition!

Long before we moved to Mount Pleasant, SC, we had heard about the annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition being a must see event in Charleston. The other day I saw a post on Facebook from offering two free tickets to SEWE to the person who writes the best comment explaining why they love Mount Pleasant, SC and I won!!!  

SEWE is the largest exposition of its kind in the nation! Over 500 artists, exhibitors and wildlife experts come from around the world. The paintings and sculptures are exhibited at the fine art gallery in the first class Charleston Place Hotel.

We walked up the grand stairway to the fine art gallery on the second floor, turned the corner and the first showroom on the left featured the work of Art LaMay!  He was there with a room full of large Great Blue Heron paintings, and various other beautiful shorebird paintings. Then down the hall on the right was John Seerey-Lester and his incredible paintings of ducks and wildlife. I remember his work on Duck Stamps back before I even started painting.  

We were off to a great start! I was wowed. Then came a large ballroom full of wonderful outdoor/wildlife artists, specializing in hunting scenes, wild animals, and birdlife.  There were some hunting dog scenes that were undoubtedly museum quality. Many of the artists are nationally and internationally known. A number of the artists were local to Charleston. I’m sure all were glad to see the over 40,000 visitors swooning over their hard work. 

After having recently photographed and painted Hooded Mergansers, a HM painting caught my eye along with some other beautiful duck paintings. The artist is Jim Rataczak, traveling all the way from Minnesota to be in this prestigious show. I loved the softness of his paintings along with the warm lighting and pleasing compositions. I could tell instantly that he has a passion for his work.  Jen took a picture of the two of us by his Hooded Merganser painting. It was a pleasure to meet him and study his work up close.

 William R. Beebe (left) with Jim Rataczak at SEWE

William R. Beebe (left) with Jim Rataczak at SEWE

The featured artist was Kathryn Mapes Turner. She was busy signing posters of her magnificent stallion painting. There were red dots (sold) on almost all of her paintings. 

Throughout the show were incredible paintings of bears, wolves, large cats, elephants, etc… that all reminded me of the work of Robert Bateman. 
Other SEWE venues included flyfishing demos, hunting displays, Jack Hanna and his animals, Jeff Foxworthy and his art!  We spotted decoy carvers out front of the Audubon Gallery storefront on King Street. We loved seeing our first flight demonstration by Birds of Prey (a local bird rescue and rehab organization). Harris's Hawks flew from the tops of nearby buildings, landing on the arm of their trainer. A variety of owls flew from perch to perch, showing off their beautiful big eyes and patterned wings. They had a tent where we could get within a few feet of the birds. Here are a few pics!


As we walked back toward our car along South King Street, leaving all of the wonderful bird paintings behind, we saw the oddest thing. A flock of Guinea Hens came out onto the street making all kinds of noise and headed up King Street toward the SEWE Exposition!   ☺

We loved our first SEWE (36th annual). I came home inspired, motivated, and energized. It was an affirmation that there is a love of aviary art out there beyond what I had ever imagined. 

I’m excited to delve into a new series of bird paintings, inspired by SEWE! When I say, “what’s next on the easel”, it’ll most likely be another bird painting!!!  ☺

Thanks as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art!!!  

One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe