It lies in the landscape: New LeeAnn Brook paintings on display in namesake gallery
KNOW & GO WHAT: LeeAnn Brook Artist Reception WHERE: LeeAnn Brook Fine Art, 231 Broad Street, Nevada City WHEN: Friday, April 5, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. INFO: Visit www.leeannbrookfineart.com or call the gallery at 530-557-5160
In an inaugural show, Nevada City fine artist LeeAnn Brook will feature over twelve new large format nature-inspired abstract paintings at her gallery, LeeAnn Brook Fine Art, for the month of April.
With the landscape always being the foundation for her paintings, the show will include her photos that provide the inspiration for each painting. She will also offer signed copies of her award-winning book “Points of Inspiration: An Artist’s Journey with Painting and Photography”. The book received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and covers the evolution of her work and her process on which the show is based.
The show and sale runs April 1 through 30 at LeeAnn Brook Fine Art, 231 Broad Street in downtown Nevada City. The opening reception is Friday evening, April 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during which LeeAnn will give a brief talk on the inspiration for her newest series. This show is a part of Arts, Culture and Creativity Month, in support of advancing the arts across the state of California.
As a young girl, Brook was inspired by seeing Monet’s original paintings of haystacks on a school field trip to an art museum, and the images never left her. The paintings, depicting the changing light and color of haystacks in a field throughout the seasons, remained in her thoughts, with a plan to someday paint from this inspiration.
Having the winter to focus on a new series of paintings for her show in April, Brook’s love for the abstract qualities of nature evolved into more than twelve new large format paintings. Coming full circle, four of the paintings in the show were inspired by Monet’s haystack paintings. The 60” by 48” paintings are inspired by waterways and wetlands, including Hirschman’s Pond in Nevada City and Gray Lodge in Gridley, some of her favorite areas. Brook’s paintings are filled with the energy of the landscape, with mixed media that includes ink, charcoal, acrylic and unusual collage materials. The use of opaque and transparent pigments, and scraping and burnishing the canvas produces tremendous depth and movement reflective of rustling reeds at the edge of a pond.
“If I rely on my memory of light, rather than working from a photo, colors and textures translate into something that is truly mine,” said Brooks. “Interpreting this in an abstract manner brings an even greater challenge, as it focuses more on the inspiration, rather than duplication.”
Brook comes from a traditionally-based art school background, studying under master trompe l’oeil painter and Dean of the art school she attended, Ken Davies. Concurrently, she was inspired to paint in a contemporary non-traditional manner on weekends while studying at Paier College of Art in Connecticut. Upon graduating in fine art and graphic design in 1973, she worked in a design studio in Boston, then moved to California in 1975 and was hired by a public relations firm in the Bay Area. She opened her own graphic design firm in 1976, with Bay Area clients such as University of California Press. She moved to Nevada City in 1977 and opened Brook Design Group, doing graphic design and branding work for nearly 1,000 local companies over 40 years.
In 2001, Brook started painting again and ultimately sold her paintings in galleries and shows worldwide. She is a five-time award winner in the California State Fair, a four-time award winner in the Wild & Scenic Film Festival juried art competition, and has received the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Visual Arts Award in 2015 from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. Her work is also part of the permanent collection at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento.
In 2015 she opened her own gallery, LeeAnn Brook Fine Art in downtown Nevada City, which features her on-site studio where visitors can view paintings in progress. The gallery moved to a new location in the summer of 2018, featuring the work of Brook plus over twenty additional artists in a variety of media, including monthly shows of guest artists. The gallery is housed in a beautifully restored brick building in the heart of historic downtown Nevada City. Located at 231 Broad Street, the gallery is open daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is open on Saturdays at 11 a.m. To see the work of the gallery’s newest artists, and read more about the gallery and its upcoming shows and events, visit www.leeannbrookfineart.com. For further information, contact the office at 530-265-6817, or gallery at 530-557-5160.
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