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

Colors of the Rainbow ~Rainbow Row, Charleston, SC

“The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by…” are words from the song What a Wonderful World. So too are trees of green, skies of blue, people shaking hands… As I painted my first painting of Charleston, SC, entitled Colors of the Rainbow I couldn’t help but hear the song in my head and think how fitting.  

Colors of the Rainbow    by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2000

Colors of the Rainbow by William R. Beebe, 12 x 12, oil on board, $2000

Rainbow Row is an historic stretch of 13 colorful Georgian style row homes on East Bay Street in Charleston. Painted in pastel Caribbean colors the stretch of homes is one of the most photographed locations and popular tourist destinations in downtown Charleston.  

Since I love color and charming architecture, I thought my first painting of Charleston should be a painting of Rainbow Row. I know some might find it cliché and an uncreative choice but I would have to kindly disagree. The row of 13 homes creates a wide horizontal setting. I chose to square off a section and focus in on the roofline from a unique perspective.  
    
It is depicted on a sunny day at Christmas time, with a Crepe Myrtle holding onto its fall colored leaves. The tree on the left has lost its leaves, while one of the large, old trees along the street creates a nice, green canopy for the tourists going by.  

I first drew a relatively detailed and exact drawing on a gessoed hardboard.  As I took the painting through a path towards realism, I knew in the end I would break down the hard edges and push it towards Impressionism.  

Drawing of    Colors of the Rainbow    by William R. Beebe

Drawing of Colors of the Rainbow by William R. Beebe

In the end, I feel it makes a more interesting painting with the painterly touches of added texture and colors.  

I hope you like Colors of the Rainbow. With a future move to Charleston in our plans, I’m hoping to paint many more scenes of Rainbow Row along with endless other street scenes, garden scenes, water and marsh scenes. Charleston is a painter’s paradise, or at least this painter’s paradise, and I welcome the inspiration!

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