A Patchwork Fall

A Patchwork Fall
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~Paul Cezanne~

July 10, 2015

FRIDAY FEATURE: Featured Artist - Brienne Brown

Step out "en plein air" with Brienne Brown!

"I truly believe that we are all capable of great things through positive thinking, hard and consistent work, and creative time management." ~Brienne Brown

"Sweet" is the first word that comes to my mind (and I would venture to guess many others') when I think of Brienne Brown. Always cheerful and determined no matter what life brings her, Brienne's smile shines on all who come near and she makes their world a brighter and better place!

Lunch with Brienne and many other talented Utah Watercolor Society artists!
Brienne is in the middle. That is me to the right (in the pink shirt).

I first met Brienne a few years ago when we were both artists at Local Colors of Utah art gallery. Her sunny smile and cheerful manner makes you immediately want to know her and be her friend. She is a watercolor painter and also has two sons that are the same ages as my two sons, so I felt a certain kinship with her from the beginning. And, though we are not "close" friends, I am happy to be among her larger circle of artist friends, even after she moved away from Utah and settled with her family in Pennsylvania. I had a great time meeting up with Brienne and some other talented watercolorists for lunch this past Spring when she visited Utah. I love reading Brienne's blog posts about her art adventures and life, following her amazing accomplishments as she continues to win awards for her beautiful watercolors, and I watch in awe (and, admittedly, a little envy) as she continues to demonstrate incredible skills with her loose plein air painting style.

Men at Work ©Brienne Brown

True to her gracious nature, Brienne was kind enough to answer my blog feature questions. So, here you have it, in her own words...

Q: What are your favorite materials and tools...the ones you just can't live without?

A: My 2 favorite brushes…  My mop brush, I use an Escoda Aquario (Squirrel) Mop #14 and #18, and a #16 Escoda Perla Toray White Synthetic Short Handle.  I have to have a mop brush. I have used many different brands that work well, but the Escoda brushes are just favorite brushes lately.  The mop brushes are important too because they help me with my first wash, an essential step.  Also, I can't live without “Lavender” by Holbein!  It makes beautiful grays.

Monterey Fishery ©Brienne Brown

Brienne's plein air setup

Q: Who are your artistic influences and why?

A: I have many artistic influences.  I love looking at and stud
ying art of other artists.  One of my favorite historical influences has to be Andrew Wyeth for his strong design and use of contrast.  Also, I love studying the paintings of JohnSinger Sargent because he was a master of composition and brush strokes in watercolor.  Finally, I love studying the paintings of Edward Hopper because his paintings tell marvelous stories and I really connect with his paintings. 

As for modern influences, I have many that have impacted how I paint whether through direct instruction or just appreciation for their art.  Some of these artists include:  Roland Lee, Alvaro Castagnet, ChristopherSchink, Joseph Zbukvic, Kristi Grussendorf, William “Skip” Lawrence, and RobertWade.  This is not at all a complete list, but these artists I feel have greatly impacted my approach to watercolor. 

Color of Spring ©Brienne Brown

Q: What is/are your favorite subject matter and why?

A: I am not sure I have a favorite subject matter.  When I look for a good subject, I am looking for interesting shadows and shapes.  However, I would say that I gravitate to landscapes and cityscapes.  I also enjoy adding figures to my paintings and trying to capture their gesture.  I enjoy painting people, but I don’t do a lot of still life.  Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I like to paint outside!

On the Foothills  ©Brienne Brown

Q: What advice would you give to emerging artists?

A: Paint, Paint, and Paint!  I can’t say it enough.  I got great advice from a professional artist I admired, Rob Adamson, when I first thought of trying to sell my work.  He told me, “Paint, and the rest will take care of itself”.  

I didn’t really believe him at the time, but he is right.  It is great to learn from other artists and I still try to take at least one workshop a year because it helps to get new ideas and get new perspectives.  However, there comes a time that an artist needs to work more on his/her own artwork.  You need to get miles on a brush and incorporate what you have learned.  One more class will not give you the experience you need.  Make a goal for yourself to paint so many times a week or completing a number of paintings in a period of time.  Also, get some good critique from an artist whose opinion you value and be sure to have an open mind.   I am still doing this.

Brienne's plein air setup

Plant Sale  ©Brienne Brown

Q: What are your favorite quotes?

A: I have many favorite quotes.  One of my favorites is from Alvaro Castagnet, “Even if you don’t know what you are doing, pretend that you do!”  I say this often to myself as I paint.  This is because I strive for bold, confident strokes in my paintings and this helps me to put away my fears.  Put the stroke down boldly and leave it alone!  I am always saying to myself, “I meant to do that.”   That way even if I made a so called “mistake,” it was just meant to be.

Under the Ginko Tree  ©Brienne Brown

Q: What would you most like to be remembered for in life?

A: This is the hardest question.  I think I would like to be remembered for my art and teaching art to others.  I want to help inspire people to reach high for what they want and for reaching their fullest capabilities.  I truly believe that we are all capable of great things through positive thinking, hard and consistent work, and creative time management.  I want to be remembered for inspiring and teaching others to realize this!

Brienne's plein air setup

American Heritage  ©Brienne Brown

Brienne was featured in the Jan 2015 The Palette Magazine in an article by Skip Lawrence: "Editing. What you leave out is as important as what you put in."

She was featured in the  Informed Collector newsletter in October 2014, and her painting "Discussing Grandpa's House" was recently chosen to be included in North LightBooks’ latest watercolor competition Splash 17: Inspiring Subjects!

Discussing Grandpa's House  ©Brienne Brown

Brienne continues to win awards, have articles featuring her, have works published, and sell paintings every month! 

She will be teaching Plein Air Impressions in Watercolor Workshops October 7-10, 2015 in Moab, UT. You can click here for more information.

You can find Brienne's paintings at her website Brienne M. Brown and at the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim, PA. Follow her blog posts about life and art by clicking the Traveling Colors BLOG link from her website. 

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this Featured Artist post. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to hear from you!