Watermill painting tutor Brienne M Brown


Brienne M Brown

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Painting by watermill tutor Brienne M Brown

Commerce Corner

Watercolor on Watercolor panel, 12” x 16”

I make my own watercolor panels by adhering watercolor paper (Sanders Waterford 200lb Cold Press) to gatorboard. It is a great surface to paint on en plein air, because it never warps. The final painting can then be varnished and framed like an oil painting, with no mat or glass.

I painted this en plein air. I loved the sun on this building and the long shadows that crossed the street. I am so grateful to have painted here because this area was hit this fall by the Hurricane Michael and the entire town of Apalachicola, FL was flooded. This street was totally under water. This is one reason I love to paint older, historic places. You never know how long something sill last, so I love to experience locations by painting en plein air. The painting has so much more meaning to me.

Painting by Brienne M Brown a tutor at the watermill in Italy

On the Porch

Watercolor on Watercolor panel, 12” x 9”

I love painting nostalgic scenes like this. This is the porch of a friend of mine which is not dramatic or spectacular, but special to me and therefore nostalgic. However, what made it a great subject to paint were the shadow shapes and patterns of the chairs. That is what I look for in a great painting subject.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Brienne M Brown

Sailing Buddies

Watercolor on watercolor panel, 17” x 21”

This painting was inspired from my first trip to Maine. I found and sketched these two sailboats which were for sale on the side of the road. I was struck by how similar and yet different they were, just like two good friends. So, by adding in the two figures I was able to mimic the sailboats and tell a story, something I love to do in a painting. Both the guys and the sailboats are 'sailing buddies'. The other reason I like this painting was the wet-into-wet washes I used to connect my shapes. It is hard to do, but something that improves a painting and something I love to teach in my workshops.

Painting tutor Brienne M Brown at the watermill in Italy

Black Moshannon Autumn

Watercolor on watercolor panel, 12” x 24”

Black Moshannon State Park is not far from my home and so I end up painting there a lot. I love this lake: it has a unique almost tea-black color and the reflections can be amazing. So, in the fall when the colors are spectacular, this is my favorite painting location. This is a studio piece I did from painting on location many times at Black Moshannon. It is so good to study a place by returning often to sketch and paint. Most the time when I am plein air painting, I finish the painting and sell it as is. However, plein air painting is most useful as information-gathering that can then be brought back to the studio where more thought-out work can be accomplished. So, even if you don't want to be a plein air painter, painting on location will help improve your studio work!

Course dates

Course Completed



Much to her mother’s indignation, Brienne owned little clothing that was not covered in paint. From a very young age, Brienne showed talent in art and music, but wanted to pursue a career in the sciences. She started her education at the University of Utah as a double major (Art and Chemistry), eventually receiving a BS in Chemistry and finishing with a Master’s degree in 2004. After graduation, Brienne worked in a Toxicology lab. Though she painted some by taking an occasional class, as the years wore on, she realized she wanted more art in her life than a career in science would allow. She was surprised and delighted to find great fulfillment in painting. In fact, it became a necessity.

After leaving her job as a toxicologist to raise her first child in 2008, Brienne had the opportunity to paint more consistently. Prioritizing painting and taking workshops from artists she admired paid off. Soon she was not only exhibiting and entering shows regularly, but also winning awards. Brienne holds signature membership status for the National Watercolor Society, Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and Utah Watercolor Society. Since 2015, Brienne has been an invited faculty member at the annual Plein Air Convention. Also, every year, she participates is several national juried plein air events and teaches workshops all over the country. Her work has been published in Splash 17 Best of Watercolor: Inspired Subjects, PleinAir Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, and Watercolor Artist Magazine.

Brienne’s passion is watercolour and plein air painting. She has won several top awards in many plein air competitions. “I find beauty in everyday life, the so called ‘mundane’. Ordinary people going about their everyday lives inspire me. I especially enjoy painting en plein air, where each painting reminds me of where I was, of the experiences I had, the sounds, smells, and the people I met. As I try and capture the essence of a scene, my paintings are always more about a moment in time than about a particular location. I enjoy sharing how I see the world.”

Brienne’s teaching philosophy

“If you want to improve your painting skills, you need to get outside and paint!”

Learning to paint on location is not only fun and exciting, but can help you with your studio work. Painting in Italy is also just a dream come true. During this workshop, Brienne will demonstrate and explain her painting process for plein air painting, sharing some great exercises and practices that will help you become a better plein air and studio watercolour artist. With the use of strong value sketches, bold washes, and quick energetic strokes, Brienne will demonstrate how to unify and bring excitement into your watercolour paintings. No experience with watercolour painting is necessary, but some drawing experience is recommended.

If you are new to plein air painting, it can be scary and hard to know where to start, know what to paint, and how to deal with the elements. Don’t worry! Brienne will teach and guide you through the process of painting with watercolours on-location. Her enthusiasm about watercolour and plein air is infectious and you can’t help but have a good time while learning and exploring in Italy.

You will be spending some time in the studio and sometime painting outdoors. Each morning the class will meet in the studio to discuss the day’s plan and some concepts. We will then venture outside to paint. Brienne will do several demonstrations throughout the workshop, but students will also have plenty of painting time with help and personal critiques from Brienne. In case of inclement weather we will be indoors, but we will still discuss painting on-location.

You can learn more about Brienne at her website: www.briennembrown.com

Praise from some of Brienne’s previous students

Brienne's workshop is great. She goes through each step guiding you through the process clearly while demonstrating her techniques and approach. I really learned a lot from her critique, as well. She recognized my tendency to overwork areas with my brush and identified my other problems, as well. I would highly recommend this workshop to ANYONE, be it a beginner or an advanced painter, wanting to learn watercolor. Thanks, Brienne, for the great lesson! RN

Enjoyed the workshop very much. Explanations and demo very clear and concise. My challenges are getting water to pigment ratios and I love how you explained the tea, milk, etc. My goal is to get it right in few steps! So going to try it again. KA

I learned so much from your workshop! You are an excellent instructor! MS

This marvellous workshop walks the viewer through the steps of creating a watercolor. Brienne Brown, the artist, explains everything clearly and well. I got a lot out of it. DF