Brian Smith: Al fresco dinning, watercolour, September, 2017

Professional Artist Brian Smith

 Watercolour has been Brian’s preferred medium from very
early in his career but he also likes to play with Acrylics and produces
paintings for exhibitions in both mediums. He has increased his profile in the fine art world with
awards from Bankside, The Mall Galleries in London along with RWA Bristol in recent years.
His passion for Watercolour has led to demonstrations/workshops at Art Societies across the UK.
 He is also a regular Art tutor at Higham Hall College Cockermouth as well as tutoring
Watercolour on Fred Olsen and P&O Cruise Ships. In 2016 he added to his portfolio in tutoring
 Watercolour at West Dean College in West Sussex.
He has written articles for a number of the Instructional Art magazines in the UK.
The prestigious International Artist and Artist magazines offered feature
articles on his work. He has recently been honoured to have a 6 page article
published in the 26th edition of The Art of Watercolour which showcases
selected Watercolour Artists from around the world.
For this demonstration, Brian worked quickly and
enthusiastically in watercolour. He aims to create finished pieces within a
short time span , one hour for a smaller piece and never longer than 7-8 hours,
otherwise the work would be “past it’s sell by date “. He emphasised the need
to plan ahead in watercolour creating light and dark areas early on and
explaining that he prefers to create impressions which stimulate the viewer’s
imagination rather than labouring over detail. Brian once worked on producing
architectural perspectives which required fine detail and inclusion of all
doors, windows etc but now enjoys the freedom to imply information with even
just random brush strokes. He calls this approach ‘Kidology’, he always
combines simple with more complex areas to create interest and balance in his
work. He uses sketchbooks to record ideas which can be worked on later often
working outdoors, dodging the weather which encourages a quick process
Brian mostly uses hotpress and not paper especially Saunders
smooth 140lb/300g weight which he sticks down with tape (to create a crisp
outline) rather than stretching. He uses large brushes and sprays on water for
texture. He likes to use watercolour in thin washes but also thickly with brave
colours and also aims to get warm and cool shades of colour in every piece for
interest. He enjoys creating shadows to add depth to a scene, mixing subtle
shades. He often scrapes areas with a knife or plastic to create special
effects and texture and leaves brush marks on his work to draw the viewer in to
the ‘story’ he is trying to tell.
Accent colours he explained can be
used to unify a painting eg red touches on this occasion, he also favours
turquoise. Brian uses bleed proof white over his watercolours to add highlights
and sparkle eg: on signs, windows, trays of glasses. He also likes to include
people in an impressionistic, lively way to tell his story for a scene, an
example of how to paint them is shown below. Architecture and people are his
two favourite subjects.
For the last few minutes of his demo Brian showed a few
watercolour techniques and fully explained how to achieve them…fun,
experimental and exciting. His presentation was really engaging, inspiring and
well received.