Painting Iconic Rainbow Row ~ focusing on the charming elements!

I can hear gallery owners saying, “Everybody paints Rainbow Row”. That may be true, but I like to think that beautiful scenery can be interpreted in many ways. Rainbow Row is iconic in that almost everyone who visits Charleston wants to walk along the colorful stretch of East Bay, and or have their picture taken in front of it. Artists like to paint it because it is so charming.

I’ve painted Rainbow Row now three times. Downtown World was my first painting. It is a large piece and leads the viewer down the long sidewalk in front of the colorful row homes. My second painting of Rainbow Row is called Colors of the Rainbow and focuses on some of the rooftops. My latest painting entitled Charming Rainbow Row focuses on an inviting section of the famous iconic home fronts.

Charming Rainbow Row    by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, Oil on board, $2200

Charming Rainbow Row by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, Oil on board, $2200

With this painting I wanted to feature some of the many charming elements that make the colorful buildings so impressive and extraordinary. Window boxes overflowing with flowers and greenery, potted plants lining the sidewalk, historic wooden shutters with their old fashioned ties, decorative lanterns over doorways, and of course wrought-iron gates all bring passerbys to a standstill. They are what take the colorful row homes to the next level.

Charming is one of the most used adjectives when describing downtown Charleston. Architectural elements are a big reason why.

I love the old-fashioned park bench that invites strangers to sit and relax in front of the private residence. With colorful window boxes on either side the sitter feels like they are sitting in a park or garden, not along a busy road.

Charming Rainbow Row   bench detail by William R. Beebe

Charming Rainbow Row bench detail by William R. Beebe

Gas lit lanterns are common in Historic Charleston. It is a charming element that many of the newer homes are featuring.

Arched entryways with wrought-iron gates add decorative curves to all of the verticals and horizontals in traditional architecture.

Charming Rainbow Row   lantern and arch details by William R. Beebe

Charming Rainbow Row lantern and arch details by William R. Beebe

Seeing the way the light filtered through the canopy of trees lining the sidewalk highlighting colors and objects, was what inspired me to paint Rainbow Row once again.

I hope you like my painting Charming Rainbow Row and find that it makes you want to park yourself on the bench or take a picture. I always enjoy walking past this location and almost always take a picture. Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my art! It is most appreciated.

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

Staying focused on Charleston~ building up a body of work!

When you are an artist and have a wide variety of interest in subject matter, sometimes it is hard to stay focused. Everyday I see subjects I’d love to paint, especially now that we live in beautiful, historic Charleston. I’m working on building up a body of work of Charleston scenes that show well together, that will hopefully be identifiable as a “Beebe”(consistent in style), and will help identify me as a Charleston painter. 

Colors of the Rainbow    by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2400

Colors of the Rainbow by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2400

The Holy City    by William R. Beebe, 10 x 12, oil on board, $2100

The Holy City by William R. Beebe, 10 x 12, oil on board, $2100

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

The Corner of Church and Queen    by William R. Beebe, 30 x 30, oil on canvas, $7200

The Corner of Church and Queen by William R. Beebe, 30 x 30, oil on canvas, $7200

Waiting Under the Crepe Myrtle    by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2200

Waiting Under the Crepe Myrtle by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2200

This is important for several reasons. Galleries, generally speaking, look to represent artists that they can count on to provide them with a consistent body of work. One of my goals is to eventually be represented by a couple of galleries in the Charleston area. 

Even though I’m new to town, I want to establish myself as a “local” painter.  A perfect example of a “local” painter would be my cousin/artist Brian Sweetland. He lived in Vermont and painted Vermont scenes. His art captured Vermont’s beautiful countryside, the working farms, cows, tractors, anything “Vermont”. Whenever I see a photograph of anything Vermont I think of my cousin Brian and his art.  

He didn’t restrict himself to just Vermont scenes, for he was also an excellent portrait and still life painter. He could paint anything and do it masterfully, but a retrospective of his work was overwhelmingly about Vermont.  

Brian spent his entire professional career building up a large body of work with a consistency of style and subject matter, becoming one of the best at what he painted.  

When we moved to Maine I had the same goal. I wanted to, and did, paint everything Maine.  Lighthouses, lobsterboats, schooners, sailboats, and working harbors were all inspiring subjects to paint. Even though we only lived in Maine for 12 years, I eventually was recognized as one of the “local” artists and was represented by a couple of galleries in town.  

Fortunately Charleston (and its surrounding areas) provides a wide range of subject matter to paint. I feel I have so much to choose from while still building up a consistent body of work. For instance, I’m starting my Charleston series of paintings by painting historic churches, colorful Rainbow Row, and charming historic homes with window boxes. 

I’m currently finishing up a painting of an historic white home along Meeting Street with overflowing window boxes, wrought iron balconies, and an American Flag. The home is heavily shaded but strong sunlight is filtering through the blooming crepe myrtles.  An arched iron gate and a moss covered brick wall create a little mystery as to what life is like on the other side.  

Meeting Street home (untitled and unfinished) by William R. Beebe, 24 x 30, oil on canvas

Meeting Street home (untitled and unfinished) by William R. Beebe, 24 x 30, oil on canvas

Paintings of window boxes, arched gates, secret gardens, horse drawn carriages, marshlands with wading birds, and shrimp boats are all possible paintings in the pipeline that would show well together. I have images of each in mind that I can’t wait to paint.

I am also excited about having added to the Charleston collection two new giclée reproduction prints. 

Thank you for following my art and my journal. I hope you’ll check back soon to see what’s on the easel. I hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving and have a very Merry Christmas!!!


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