British artist David Brayne’s contemplative figures and moody waterscapes on textured surfaces convey lyrical narratives entrusted to the viewer’s interpretation.
While textured surfaces and imagination may be at the heart of Brayne’s work, it doesn’t mean he isn’t influenced by his environment. At one time, he lived in Lincolnshire, a notoriously flat part of England that’s home to big skies and open fields. At that stage in his painting career, his work was very minimalistic—and all about expanse and emptiness.
His newer paintings are still about open spaces, but these days, his home is within 6 or 7 miles of the Somerset Levels, a coastal plains and wetland area where, over the centuries, the residents have learned to adapt to regular, sometimes severe, flooding. It’s hardly surprising, then, that water has become a regular theme in Brayne’s paintings, even if the depiction can be somewhat ambiguous. It’s not always clear whether one is looking at a river, a lake or the sea.
“For me, the beauty of water is that it creates an extra dimension in a painting,” Brayne says. “Elements of the picture can be above it, on it or within it. People can see these things in very different ways. Boats are perfect for containing the figures—they act like ‘space cages,’ holding the figures together; the fishing rods or nets link them both physically and metaphorically to each other and to the water.”
For more about Brayne and his imagined worlds, check out the December 2015 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print or as a download, at northlightshop.com, and on newsstands October 20.