GUEST DOODLEWASH: Memories In Watercolour

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

My name is Dermot Brennan and I’m from the Republic of Ireland (follow me on Facebook, Google+, and visit my website!). I started painting as a child and never stopped. My first experiences with art were years of drawing, of which I was obsessed about. I felt driven to draw anything and everything. I think it’s essential that one can draw well before attempting to paint.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

My early working life had me working as a specialist in painting/decorating in Georgian restoration work. These skills included the artistic side of decorating as in faux decorating effects, Trompe-l’œil, signwriting etc,etc. I also worked as a teacher in Decorating/Art after receiving various qualifications .

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

All this was beneficial to my real passion – art. I became obsessed with watercolour after reading a small book by John Blockley. It was and still can be a most frustrating but totally addictive medium ; years of constant brush work and I finally started to realise ‘I’m not bad at this.’ The real test being putting your work out there, which I did by hanging my work in an outdoor gallery in Merrion Square, Dublin .

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

From there, I got spotted by one of Ireland’s top galleries, Carton house, and shortly after Gallery 23 in Dublin, which is now selling two of my limited editions and soon to be more. I’m mostly self taught but exhibit with some of best over here, so I’m never short of sharing ideas, opinions, and processes with others and hearing from them in exchange.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

I paint a lot of material from memory as I’m blessed with a fairly good visual one. I’m interested in big shapes and strong colour to make an impactful statement and will do several thumbnail drawings to get the shapes right in my head before I paint the image in. I sit down and paint it in my mind… it works for me.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

I used to work in a photo realistic style until I got bored with it as I felt it to restricting. Now, I love to wet the paper thoroughly and cover the paper in the weak first washes. I will watch the paper like a hawk and as it dries, put in all the shapes that need soft edges as they blend beautifully on the damp paper. I finish off with the rigger when the paper is bone dry.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

Incidentally, I will use photos to work from – my own and others ( with full permission) – if the subject looks promising. And the camera can indeed be a marvellous tool. It’s then down to each artist to interpret what they see into a decent painting. That’s where creativity comes in and I think it takes a lot of experience to paint a decent watercolour from a photo.

People often ask about my colours and my advice would be the less the better. It’s astonishing the range of colours that can be made with three colours. Isn’t that what printers work on… three basic colours?

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

I use Ultramarine, cobalt blue, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, cadmium red/alizarin crimson.That’s a warm and a cool of each colour and I’m so used to them that I can mix them in my sleep. Sometimes, I will use the earth colours as in sienna and umbers if I’m noting the humour for mixing from scratch.

I used to think drawing was the tough part. It’s not. Colour gets nearly all beginners as they skip the essentials which are coloumixing and tonal values. You can use almost any colours you want if you get your tonal values right. Spend a week learning colour mixing. Do the same with tonal value and watch the difference. Photo your paintings and convert to black and white. If they look convincing in black and white they’re normally good to go.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting By Dermot Brennan - #doodlewash

I’m also a former magician/mentalist, which was a lot of fun. I love to read, play chess, and have a little drink… or two. I‘m happily married and my wife looks on me with God-like adoration as she serves me burnt offerings for dinner most days.

Dermot Brennan

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  1. tendersoulblog 6 years ago

    Wow! What a lovely post. I paint as well but mostly jewels😜. I’ll keep in mind these notes. Thank you

  2. magnumopusman 6 years ago


  3. Agnès McLaughlin 6 years ago

    Very funny post. I love your Irish humour and your beautiful art and style. I am writing this with a big smile😊

    • Dermot Brennan 6 years ago

      Than you very much Agnes , I think humour keeps us all young I get into trouble quiet a bit as I never stop laughing or playing about 🙀

  4. Sree 6 years ago

    I just loved the way you finished it, smiling as the person earlier 🙂

    • Dermot Brennan 6 years ago

      Thanks a lot Sree , happy is the way I’m sure you agree my friend ,people take life way to seriously 😀

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Dermot, your art is enchanting. I feel I’m being pulled into a scene by something so delicate, it could be blown there. I love the way you let water take the painting to its own level. Those skies with the light drifing in – magical.

    • Dermot Brennan 6 years ago

      Thank you so much Sharon I really appreciate those kind words

  6. Roger 6 years ago

    You paintings are wonderful. Although digital painter myself I’m far too gutless to try water, unless someone comes up with a water based undo function which I use a great deal as I’m so careless.

    • Dermot 6 years ago

      Thank you very much Roger really appreciate it

  7. André Mangabeia 6 years ago

    I think you still make magic with brush and paper. Stunning work Dermot.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Dermot 6 years ago

      Thank you so much Andre

  8. tmikeporter 6 years ago

    An Irish friend of mine just shared your Clontarf pier painting on FB and then I find you here so have followed you on FB. I also wc paint and lived in Eire in the mid 90s. Glad to have found you.

  9. Dermot 6 years ago

    Thank you very much Mike theres no medium like watercolour it’s pure magic my friend

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