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Local watercolor teacher puts love for Santa Barbara into upcoming exhibit

Working as a crew coach at the Santa Barbara harbor supervising the waterfront’s janitorial crew, Brian Maclaren is inspired by the sea lions sunbathing on the docks and the fluidity of the coastal setting. He takes photographs of what he sees and later uses them to create his paintings, which he describes as an interpretive style using watercolor with pen and ink and applying as few strokes as possible.

“There is a certain acceptance in painting with watercolors, where you work loosely and accept what happens," shares MacLaren, “It’s okay to go outside the lines.”

Brian is also employed as a teacher at Santa Barbara Art Works, a downtown art gallery and arts education program for artists with disabilities. His experience as a local watercolor artist started from his mentor, Tom Henderson, at the Schott Center’s adult ed classes.

“I dropped out of Tom’s watercolor class three times, because I didn’t think I was good enough,” says MacLaren. “It was persistence and wanting to express myself through watercolors that I stuck to it for the past seven years.”

On Thursday, July 7, 2022, Brian MacLaren will be the featured artist for the opening of, The Harbor Show, 1st Thursday arts show, and artist reception hosted by Santa Barbara Art Works from 5:00 – 8:00PM. Brian will be showcasing 20 watercolor paintings all professionally framed and matted by Goleta’s Frame-Up. Additionally, his students’ and other artists’ work will be on exhibit, along with acoustic classical guitar by Tessa Ogella.

The influence behind The Harbor Show is the connection and cultural richness of our community and how Brian feels when returning from a large city, like Los Angeles, and driving along the coast back to Santa Barbara. He shares, “It feels like home. That’s the same feeling I hope people get when they experience this show.”

To view or shop Brian's portfolio of work, go to Brian MacLaren Portfolio.


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