Paul Brent, He Has The Will and Wonder to Watercolor

Scott Holstein / Rowland Publishing File Photos


Scott Holstein / Rowland Publishing File Photos

With its vibrant blue-greens of the sea, pastel-painted coastal homes and the gradient jewel tones of the setting sun, the Emerald Coast is bursting with color just begging to be captured. Panama City Beach artist Paul Brent does just that, immortalizing the beauty of his home with a likeness only watercolor and oil paint can render.

The 70-year-old artist first moved to Florida in 1969, when he was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City. Upon falling in love with the area, Brent rented a beach house and took the opportunity to explore the environment of life by the sea. 

“I built the start of my career painting beach subjects,” Brent says. “People really connect with their area, so I was lucky to have a really good market for selling my artwork to people, by painting local subjects.”

Brent painted exclusively in watercolor until the year 2000. After having established himself as a successful watercolorist, Brent decided it was time to try something different and began experimenting with oil paint. As it turned out, Brent found a new medium he really enjoyed. Although his style has changed throughout the decades, Brent describes his current style as a marriage between his old, collage-type artwork and a more stylized technique.

“I’m experimenting with abstract, yet defined detail in watercolor. The pieces of the watercolor, put together, are like pieces of a puzzle. There’s definitely a realism that portrays specific objects, but each object is broken down into tiny pieces that are individually painted,” Brent explains.

Brent’s artwork tells a story. There is detail and purpose — a precision that comes from the artist’s degree in architecture, which he received in 1968. 

“People always comment that my work looks very structured, and I take that as a compliment, because it definitely does relate to my architectural background. No matter if I’m painting a floral or a landscape, there’s definition to each object I paint.”

Although Brent now focuses full-time on his art, he still dabbles in architectural design. Recently, he designed a vacation home in Oregon for himself and his family, where they spend their summers. The remaining seasons are spent in Panama City Beach, home also of the Paul Brent Gallery.  

In addition to Brent’s paintings of local scenery, a trip to the Paul Brent gallery provides an exploration of work by other artists, including blown glass, ceramics and jewelry that compliment Brent’s style.

You’ll also find objects that feature Brent’s designs on them: dinnerware, handbags and household décor that are manufactured and shipped across the nation. Brent admits that it’s surreal to imagine his own artwork being featured in homes all across the country, but it’s gratifying, too. 

“Every day I go to work, I’m doing something that I love and have fun doing. Other people do this in other ways, but for me, it’s by making art that helps people feel good about themselves and their home, too.” 

The Paul Brent Gallery is located at 413 W. 5th St. in Panama City, Florida. For more information, visit

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