Enriching the Arts

Featured Artist: Rex Beanland, ASA, CSPWC

Stephan Ave and Centre

Rex Beanland, Stephen Ave and Centre


Rex started painting in watercolour as a young child and he just never outgrew it. Something in that mysterious interaction between water and pigment continues to fascinate him. In spite of being told that ‘serious artists’ paint in acrylic or oil he is proudly and unabashedly a watercolourist. Both the challenge and the joy of watercolour reside in the fact that water won’t be completely controlled. As watercolourists we need to learn to work with water and to allow it to do what it does best. The reward we receive is that water will do things for us that we couldn’t do by ourselves.

He has painted full time for the past 18 years since retiring as a public school teacher. For the past 5 years he has focused on urban landscapes.

“I am fascinated by people. I am amused, inspired and intrigued by the things they do. So I paint cityscapes, to capture the interaction between people and the places they live. I spend a lot of time wandering the streets and back alleys searching for those fleeting glimpses of people going about their business. For me painting is about story telling and as I observe people working, playing or just hanging around I find myself irresistibly drawn to their stories and that’s what I want to capture.

All my urban landscape work begins with plein air painting or sketching. The beauty of doing cityscapes is that everything is so close at hand. Every week, winter and summer, I drive around until I find something that interests me and I paint it. If I’m not painting I always have my sketch book with me and it takes only a few moments to sketch some person’s pose or a detail of a building. This rich library of reference material weaves it’s way into my paintings.

The 4 most important achievements in my art career all occurred within the past 3 years. They are: 1) achieving signature status in the Canadian Society of Painters In Watercolour (CSPWC), 2) achieving signature status with the Federation of Canadian Artists (AFCA) and 3) achieving signature status in the ASA and 4) being asked to be a principal instructor at the Watercolour Symposium presented CSPWC in Nova Scotia in 2015.

As a retired teacher, teaching art remains an important part of what I do. I love to be part of that moment when students ‘get it’ and learn something new and are inspired to keep on growing. ”

The Calgary Stampede

Rex Beanland, The Calgary Stampede

Q & A with the ASA

ASA: Can you tell us about your influences?

Rex: The biggest influence in my watercolour career is Joseph Zbukvic, an artist I discovered about 5 years ago. He was instrumental in directing my focus to urban landscape but he has also taught me innumerable lessons on watercolour technique. He teaches around the world and it is almost impossible to get into his workshops. I had the honour of taking a workshop with him this past summer in Michigan.

ASA: What do you consider your most succesful body of work to date?

Rex:  I feel that I ‘found my voice’ when I began working primarily with the urban landscape and my major successes and awards have come during this time.

The Porch In Summer

Rex Beanland, The Porch In Summer

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#302 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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