Friday, March 29, 2024

Miranda Brookes - an exquisite Landscape Artist

This is about Miranda Brookes who, for me, was the standout new discovery (to me) at the RI's annual exhibition - currently on at the Mall Galleries.

She is a proper watercolour painter doing realistic landscapes which exploit the potential of watercolour AND does not 'shorthand' the trees.

It's very rare for a new artist, submitting via the Open Entries, to get more than one or two artworks per artist accepted - unless they're being considered as a Candidate for Membership.

I think this is her first RI Exhibition. (There's none prior listed on her website - and besides which I'd have remembered!!)

Miranda Brookes has had:
  • four top quality artworks hung
  • won two prizes
She portrays trees with few if any shortcuts - but does so in a contemporary way. I had my magnifier out to see how she did it - and as I expected there is a LOT of painting of negative spaces which I'm very used to finding in the work of botanical artists who work to a very high degree of precision but don't see so often in the RI Exhibition.

To me she is an artist who should be immediately be invited to consider whether she would like to apply for membership of the RI. Her work, to my mind, is better in concept, skill and execution than ALL those currently being considered as candidates.

Above is an image of her four paintings and below are images of the two paintings which won prizes - and both sold. I'm not surprised. The one I wanted had already been sold!

Followed by a very informative film about her personal history and her approach to watercolour painting. 

The Michael Harding Award

(a varied selection of Michael Harding watercolour sets)

Bullrushes and Trees by Miranda Brookes
28 x 20cm (unframed)

This was an exquisite exercise in tonalities, wet washes and very precise negative painting probably using dry brush work. The depth she achieves is incredible. The amazing range of colours and tonalities achieved within one painting indicates this is an artist who really knows how to exploit the full potential of watercolour paints.

The John Purcell Paper Prize

(Paper to the value of £100 awarded to a work chosen by John Purcell)

Winter Birches in the Brambles by Miranda Brookes
21 x 25 cm unframed

John Purcell - for the uninitiated - is a retailer of paper for artists in London. One well worth knowing. Once I saw her handling her very stiff paintings in the video (below) I knew it was  entirely possible he knows her because it's very clear to me they are executed on heavyweight watercolour paper (maybe 640gsm / 300lb?) - which is suitable for complex processes. That's because there's not a lot of artists who use this weight!

I could also see from looking closely that she's painting on NOT not HP. I could also see from looking with my magnifier, that these are paintings which emerge through a variety of processes and many layers. There is LOTS of negative painting - but it's on top of other layers beneath.

The video below is made by her framers and is about an exhibition. The interview reveals her personal history, how she came to return to watercolour painting on retirement and how she approaches various paintings in different locations. It's a very rewarding "watch".

About Miranda Brookes

She is a retired teacher and university tutor in relation to education for the visually impaired - who returned to watercolour painting in her retirement. She's previously worked in textiles and the above video tells some of her story. 

Apparently most of her paintings take a week to do - but not all survive to the end of the week.

Her 'About' page reveals the rest of what she has to relate - which is not what I generally see on the websites of most watercolour painters.

You can follow Miranda Brookes on her Instagram account where you can see very quickly that she has a very mature style and a considerable body of work!

You can also see her paintings on the wall facing the stairs in the East Gallery.

Miranda's paintings are the four small ones to the right of the blue painting

NOTE: I was going to do my review of the 212th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours today but various events have conspired to make that something I will try and do at the weekend.

I can however highly recommend the RI Annual Exhibition which has 465 paintings in variations on watercolour, gouache, acrylic and inks.  It's on at the Mall Galleries until 13th April 2024. Open every day from 10am-5pm.

You can also see albums of photos I took of the exhibition yesterday on my Facebook Page - see

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