Ambassador of the Week: Amanda Brett

Meet Amanda Brett, this week’s top American Watercolor Weekly Ambassador!

his is one of my favorite Piazza in Lucca, Italy – Piazza Grande (aka Piazza Napoleone). A studio painting from my imagination called “Ballerina in Waiting”. I love people-watching, particularly in Lucca, so many characters and families on holiday and the locals are totally amazing – generous, warm-hearted, authentic people!! I live in Lucca, to paint en plein air, every year for about 4 months, I also teach workshops in Europe.

Amanda is an award-winning, internationally recognized plein air watercolor artist, with works held in collections in Italy, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Australia.

Amanda loves watercolor painting, more than that – it’s her life! She’s totally addicted to the chemical reactions produced by the combination of organic watercolor pigments, traditional watercolor papers, and water – she loves watching paint dry!

Based in her hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, Amanda also lives in Lucca for her annual painting residency and workshops in Italy. When in Italy, every morning she heads out into the streets of Lucca in search of new and evocative painting subjects to paint en plein air. Bicycle loaded with painting equipment pared to a minimum, an espresso and cornetto (traditional Italian colazione), then off to the next painting location.

This is Vini e Liquori painted en plein air in Lucca. I was having a rough patch of unsuccessful paintings, feeling stressed and anxious, I decided to go and paint in my favorite Piazza and just have fun and this is the result! limited palette of 3 colors.

In conjunction with her Auckland watercolor classes and workshops, Amanda also teaches week-long watercolor painting holiday workshops in Lucca for watercolor enthusiasts who want an active holiday and want to get to know a destination intimately.

Amanda says “I create paintings that are atmospheric with interesting shapes – almost California Art style – look up Frank Webb, Rex Brandt and my absolute favorite watercolor artist Ted Sherwen. I let colors run into each other creating a unique underpainting and telling my story through a detailed focal area. I want you to be able to see something new every time you look at my paintings.”

Another en plein air from a recent residency in Lucca, this is “early morning”. I decided to create a pink painting – it seemed that pink was everywhere. My preparatory sketches were quite grim and I found it extremely difficult to find a composition so i decided to just plummet in, it took me about two weeks to like it and now it’s one of my favorites!

Amanda enjoys painting street scenes en plein air or studio and still-life. “I always add people and crowds to my street scenes, many artists avoid this but I find it exhilarating (frightening!) to add a minimal shape that will become a person. watercolor is for the minimalist, less is definitely more! I love creating odd funky shapes – they still say ‘I’m a bottle or a teapot’ but nothing is straight – a long line has a kink or something to destroy it”

Become an American Watercolor Ambassador for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue!

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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