Scott Brown finds artistic passion in watercolor
WRITTEN BY ALYSON MAYE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
Scott Brown is not only the owner and president of Ryan Creek Technology; he is also a self-taught watercolorist.
Brown’s works feature calm, serene landscapes, with an emphasis on Smith Lake. Some might wonder: How did a tech genius become interested in art – in particular, watercolor?
“I have been a computer nerd since I was 18, and I am 57 now. Computers are all that I have ever done,” Brown said. “There was a time not that many years ago when I decided I needed to stop being a computer guy during the day and night as well. I wanted to do something, and I tend to collect hobbies. I started painting about 15 years ago, and it was just an escape from the technical spot.”
In the past six years Brown and his wife purchased a home on Smith Lake, and he found himself with a little extra free time. “My wife and I make it a point to go to the lake every weekend, and that is my time to paint. Over the past five years I have painted pretty consistently,” Brown said.
Oils and acrylics are often top choices among artists because they are able to take time with their works, and these mediums are also easier to correct if a mistake is made. Brown’s choice of medium, however, is watercolors – a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution.
“I took up watercolors because I am not a patient man,” he explained. “I did not find until many years later that watercolors are actually far more difficult than oils or acrylics. With oil paints and acrylics, if you make a mistake, you can paint over it. In watercolor, you will have a series of failed paintings, like I do in my desk.”
Several steps are usually part of the creative process of an artist. For Scott, his journey from observation to inspiration to creation is often nearly instantaneous.
“When I see something that I know that I want to paint, I know, and I need to do it right then. Once I am inspired, the painting is very enjoyable,” Brown said. “There is a concept called ‘lost time,’ and there is a book called ‘Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain,’ by Betty Edwards, and she talks about being in the zone – that time you lose when you are focused on that thing, and you don’t notice the clock. You don’t think of anything that is going on except for what you are doing. You don’t think about the brush strokes or color choice because you are in the zone.”
Over the past few years Brown has had the opportunity to exhibit his pieces at Huntsville Art League. He also published a book that showcases his paintings of Smith Lake, and he has created commissioned pieces for customers who want to get their hands on his artwork.
“My favorite experience as an artist is that I have had the opportunity to meet … nice people who have been excited about my work,” he said.
A new door recently opened for Brown, who was looking for an opportunity to get more involved with his community and to participate in civic-minded activities. Brown joined the Rotary Club of Madison – and as a result, got the chance to design the posters for the Rotary’s Volksmarch, a 3.1-mile walk through historic Madison.
“I was asked to put a flyer together,” Brown explained. “I was looking for a header image for this flyer, but I was unable to find anything. So, I took out my notebook and began to sketch a very quick placeholder, and that then became an icon for this march. It was put on signs on the side of the road, websites and flyers. I intended for it to be a placeholder until I found something appropriate to go in there, but the response I got back from it was fairly remarkable. Those are the surprising moments because it resonates with people.”
Art-lovers can find Brown’s work at the Huntsville Art League and in his Lewis Smith Lake coffee table book. He can also be found online at scottercolors.com and @scottercolors on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.