Touring the French Quarter in Charleston ~ by horse and carriage!

My previous painting, 3 Meeting Street, was all about strong lighting and cast shadows.  I wanted my next painting to capture “old”, as in historic and old looking.  Even though much of Charleston is charming and beautiful, there are sections that look very old while still remaining charming.  The corner of State and Queen Street is one such location in the historic French Quarter!

    Touring the French Quarter in Charleston   , by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, oil on canvas, $9500

Touring the French Quarter in Charleston, by William R. Beebe, 30 x 36, oil on canvas, $9500

We had been to this corner of the French Quarter before.  It was at a Friday Night Art Walk when we entered the Anglin Smith Fine Art Gallery (the building on the left) for the first time. The 200 year old building was lit up, full of people, and full of beautiful paintings. Wine and food were being served, and there was live music. I admired the old, cypress wood walls; the floors were patterned stone and the ambiance couldn’t have been better for enjoying art and people. 

Walking the street during the day you’d never guess how alive the location becomes at night. Looking at the 200 year-old building from the outside you instantly think “old” as you see the multiple layers of plaster and brick exposed by the elements. When the horse and carriage came along, I noticed that it blocked the view of all cars in the scene. All of a sudden the scene became timeless.  

   Touring the French Quarter in Charleston   (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Touring the French Quarter in Charleston (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

The guide is featured, depicted turned toward his passengers sharing his local knowledge about the history of the French Quarter. The colorful rowhomes along Queen Street are lined with palm trees, leading one’s eyes further into the painting.

While trying to capture the character and age the challenges became trying not to clean it up too much (which is my tendency), and remaining mindful not to make it dreary. I added openings of blue to the otherwise cloudy sky to brighten up the day. The impressionist touches on the horse help imply a slow movement giving the painting a little life, along with the people on the sidewalk and in the carriage.  

   Touring the French Quarter in Charleston   (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Touring the French Quarter in Charleston (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

I hope this painting entitled Touring the French Quarter draws you in and makes you curious about historic and charming Charleston.  Each painting I do makes me want to learn more about the fascinating city we now call home.  

Thank you for reading my journal and following my art.  I would love to hear from you, if you would like to comment below.  Thanks again and please check back soon to see what’s next on the easel! 


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