Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown is no “blue-sky” landscape painter. With a passion for pulsating natural beauty—both moody and atmospheric—dominating his paintings, there is only an occasional glimpse of that “blue sky.” Crashing surf, passing storms, and vivid sunlit vistas set off by a ceiling of shadowy, moody heavens that are populated by wispy clouds—all are signature elements of a Gordon Brown landscape. Growing up near the Grand Mesa of Colorado has no doubt seeped into Brown’s aesthetic and artistic vision, working like a compass to guide his initial responses to painting. He was given almost no art instruction as a child, spending his days outdoors hiking, fishing, camping, and skiing. In school, he sold some of his drawings but was neither encouraged nor discouraged by his parents to pursue a career in art. As life evolved, his natural talent became its own driving force. Not yet twenty-one, Brown found early success and encouragement when he was asked to show at Breckenridge Gallery in 1983. In the ensuing years, artists Shang Ding and Quang Ho recognized Brown’s raw talent and provided priceless instruction, from the underlying principles of composition to the final phases of layering—scraping, sanding, and glazing. Meeting these artists helped Brown flesh out concepts he had been attempting on his own and, after studying with them, his work grew exponentially over just a few months’ time. Another of his seminal influences was abstract expressionist Jac Kephart, who not only taught Brown about texturing surfaces but also introduced him to the world of art history. “The first time I went to a museum was in Boston to see a Monet show with Jac,” Brown recalls. “I was twenty-eight.” Opening his eyes to the Impressionists led to the Luminists—Turner, Metcalf, Moran—and Tonalists—Twachtman and Inness—as well as others, including landscape painter Camille Corot. All of these artists were extremely influential, providing an education on many levels, from surface treatment to color theory, design, mood, atmosphere, and how to achieve light glowing from the depths of the canvas. Brown freely admits, “I borrowed from the old masters, the modern masters, and every artist I know. I’m always experimenting, occasionally destroying and not worrying if it will work or not; being childlike, that’s how I approach painting.” This unwavering commitment todiversity—testing his limits and looking for more ways to interpret on canvas what he sees—has kept Brown’s work fresh and ever-evolving. Today, Brown and his family live between the seascapes of northern California and the mountain and canyon country of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. In his short career of nearly thirty years, Gordon Brown has carved a solid niche for himself as a “new” old master of the luminous landscape.

 


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