by Bryan Thatcher

"It’s Easy when you are shown how"
by Hans Patel B.D.S (London) DGDP

Having always believed that you can never be taught how to paint, that it is a God-given talent, I had a surprise when I first met Bryan Thatcher 8 years ago, who declared he can teach me to paint in water colour, good enough to frame and hang up in my waiting room.

"Painting is just like many other trades," he said. "If you are given the basics, and the right materials, it is achievable."

Bryan, of Watford Heath, has just published his second do-it-yourself book, Thatcher's Way, which is full of advice on how to paint in watercolours. Bryan has a very loose, flowing style and is more than happy to share his god given talent in a straightforward, no nonsense way which anyone should be able to follow. His first book “Wet into Wet” sold over 30,000 copies.

"There are many styles and different ways of expressing one's work in watercolours," 61-year-old grandfather Bryan enthused. "I am sure that is what makes painting such a challenge. We all like to be different, and no doubt we are. But once the basics are in place we can experiment with all kinds of techniques.

"My main aim is to be free of unnecessary detail, with an emphasis on loose brush strokes. A good test of watercolour is to be able to see the paper through the paint. If you tell the watercolour what to do, it will not be your friend. You will reap the benefits of this beautiful medium if you accept what it offers."

Self-taught artist Bryan also shares his knowledge on videos, in magazine articles and at workshops and tutoring holidays. He started the holidays in the 1970s, since when the sideline has flourished and he now travels all over the world, visiting USA, France, Spain, Ireland and India to teach how to paint atmospheric landscapes, seascapes, harbour scenes, floral subjects and townscapes.


During the last 30 years, Bryan has painted landscapes in many beautiful places such as County Clare in Ireland;Whitesands Bay in Pembrokeshire; Castellor in Spain, and Cumbria. His favourite locations are the west coast of Ireland and the Lake District.

Bryan trained in graphic art but became a freelance artist when he realised he could earn more than by being employed. But, he admitted: "You can't earn a living just by painting, you have to have another string to your bow. Mine happens to be tutoring and workshops, and sometimes exhibitions can prove worthwhile. But I tend not to exhibit much now, I am too busy. My last exhibition was in Chicago four years ago, when I displayed paintings of the Lake District: it was a sell-out."

Bryan is a professional advisor to the Society of Amateur Artists and used to be the chairman of Watford Arts Society. Watching Bryan paint is a lesson all in itself. He paints with such ease, fluidity and speed, a scene in just half-an-hour. He makes it look effortless, leaving you feeling inspired and that it really is achievable.

Bryan has become a good friend and my golfing partner and yes, many of my efforts do hang in my waiting room. As a testament to his teaching ability I was recently offered a 3 figure sum for one of paintings. That is a compliment!

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