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Brian Smith

10th February 2024

Over 50 members viewed this excellent Zoom demo by Brian Smith.  Brian specialises in watercolour and to begin he showed us examples of quick 15 minute exercises, trying out different ideas with tonal values, shape, light and atmosphere.  Although he called these 'practice' pieces, they all looked very effective and successful to most of us!

Brian says he paints what he looks at, whether outdoors or from photographs, but then embellishes in his own way.  His practice pieces are often painted from his imagination only. He emphasised linking shapes, including people, for an interesting composition and not putting in too much detail, to allow the viewer to interpret some aspects of the scene. 

A phrase that Brian used throughout his demo was 'let the pigment play'.  

He brushed water over the paper first, and dropped the raw colour onto the paper, allowing the pigments to mix and merge.  He likes the unpredictability of what appears on the paper.  He used tissue to blot off some of the paint, to show light or soft edges.  He used the end of the brush or a knife to indent into the paper, which allows the paint to sink in and create hard marks, such as on the pavement in the first painting of a street scene.  


He would also use the knife to scrape of some of the pigment, while still wet, to lighten areas. He used a spray bottle of water and splattering to give texture, such as on the beach in the coastal scene.


Brian used the above techniques on three paintings - a street scene, a landscape and coastal scene (see below) at the same time giving many other useful hints, tips and advice.

Quotes from a few of our members:

'A top demo by a top artist'

'Brilliant demo'

'Very informative and I learnt a lot'

'I will be brave and have a go'.


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Practice and experimental pieces

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The three pieces painted at the demo

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