Downtown World ~ Walking on the Row!

Downtown World by William R. Beebe, 40 x 30, oil on canvas, $9600

Downtown World by William R. Beebe, 40 x 30, oil on canvas, $9600

I timed my visit to Rainbow Row on East Bay Street in Charleston so that the lighting would be good for some photography. I was hoping to find some new painting material that would inspire me to take on a significant work. Something I could really dive into.  

It was a nice sunny morning when I arrived and it was my lucky day. The long shadows from the crepe myrtle and palm trees along the side of East Bay were reaching across the sidewalk and climbing up the colorful facades of the famous Rainbow Row rowhomes.  Sunlight was streaming through the trees.  

In the midst of my brief photographic session, as if from out of nowhere a tall woman appeared, walking her large and rather spirited Great Dane.  She was fashionably dressed and looked rather uptown, with trendy boots and stylish clothing.  The dog was so full of energy that she was having a hard time controlling him. This made me think that she lived in one of the houses close-by and they had just begun their morning walk.  

I took a few pics of them walking along the Row and wondered who the seemingly well-to-do woman was. Does she live on the Row or the Battery?  Is this her morning routine, walking Rainbow Row? Is this her world, downtown Charleston? 

The life and mystery that was added to the scene by the sudden appearance of a mystery woman and her spirited dog intrigued me and I quickly decided this would be the image I wanted to paint!

I chose a 40” by 30” canvas, did only a quick sketch, and decided that I would make this a painting experience and not get confined by a detailed underdrawing. As I mentioned in my prior blog showing this piece in progress, I wanted to feel like I was painting plein air, or on location.  

The truth is I was impatient and couldn’t wait to start painting!  ☺

My goal was to focus more on lighting and colors than precise detail. Each detail was painted in freehand as if I were on the Row with my French easel with limited time to create a plein air piece. The reality is that it is a studio painting, very large in size, painted over an extended period of time. 

There are scenes like this everywhere in Charleston. Well, not exactly.  Rainbow Row’s multi-colored Georgian style rowhomes are distinctly unique, recognizable at a moment’s glance by anyone who has been there. Downtown Charleston speaks to me as an artist.  It intrigues and inspires me.  

My painting entitled Downtown World is only my third painting of Charleston with hopefully many more to come down the road.  

Please check back soon to see what’s next on my easel. Thank you as always for your interest in my art and my photography!


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