The work of Brittney Tough warrants double takes.
At first glance, her vibrant photo realistic paintings do not lend themselves to the medium in which they were created in. This makes them a bit of a trick on the eye.
“I typically paint in watercolour and most people know my work for painting fabric or textiles,” said Brittney.
Not to be confused with the idea of painting on fabric, there are actually no textiles involved in her final creations.
The colours are vivid and the images are so real looking sometimes that you question what your eye is observing.
It is a true departure from the soft contemplation left by most watercolour artists.
“The watercolours are images of fabric - but don't actually use any fabric in it.
“When I was first learning to paint with watercolour, I went down to Fish Creek Park to paint plein air.
“I took my picnic blanket down there and my paints and went to paint the landscape.
“I went to go paint the trees and everything, I just was not inspired.
“When I looked down, I saw this colourful patch-work quilt and thought, ‘oh, I'll just paint that.’
“I started to use fabric as my tool to learn how to paint with watercolour and how to use colour.
“It started off as being a subject to learn how to paint and it just kind of carried on.
“I really enjoy the colour, the pattern and textures that you can get.
“People have this preconceived idea that watercolour is washed out and really pale-looking. I thought that too, when I was first learning watercolour.
“I wasn't really interested in it, because I thought it would be pale and washed out and I wasn't interested in that.
“When I finally learned that you can make water colours really vibrant and colourful, just by saturating the paint a lot, the mixture, not diluting it with much water, I was hooked.
“I think that's why I get a kick out of painting with watercolour and making it vibrant, because I like being able to challenge people's ideas about what watercolour is.”
Brittney succeeds not only at creating art that is vibrant and defying of typical watercolour limitations - but also at making everything look very clean and planned.
The way she works with the paint and brush has an outwards appearance of being very controlled. In actuality, Brittney has had to learn to flow with her paint.
“This summer, I was at the water colour symposium and I developed a bit of reputation for having a very clean pallet.
“Everything was really organized, everything was pre-planned. I think people started knowing me for the person who has a clean, organized sensibility.
“I'm okay with that, I guess I've embraced it.
“There's times when I make a point of letting go. When I do some of these figure paintings in watercolour that I've done, it's pretty fun to explore that as well.
“The more that I work in watercolour, I learn to let it do its own thing, and let go of that control.”
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