Emerging Artists | Anne Blair Brown

The power of suggestion

Anne Blair Brown, How Dry I Am, oil, 16 x 16.

Anne Blair Brown, How Dry I Am, oil, 16 x 16.

This story was featured in the April 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Whether Anne Blair Brown has captured a charming outdoor café, a sleepy seaside resort, or a sofa in her living room, the work almost always evokes an element of mystery. Brown says she is most excited by artworks that leave something to the viewer’s imagination. Rather than portraying exact reality, she is intent on conveying an impression of a scene. She is fond of adhering to the words of American Impressionist John F. Carlson: “Too much reality in a picture is always a disappointment to the imaginative soul. We love suggestion and not hard facts.”

Becoming a professional artist wasn’t necessarily on her radar when she was growing up, but the Tennessee-based artist says that as a kid she was always “drawing, building, or gluing something.” But it wasn’t until she was 30 and had enrolled in art classes at the Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville that she got serious about pursing a fine-art career. Today she is a regular participant in the Oil Painters of America’s National Juried Exhibition and has chalked up a string of top awards in the past few years.

As she has evolved as an artist, Brown says, her main focus has become shapes, values, patterns, and light. And it is often her light-filled interior scenes that garner awards. But she is also drawn to an array of other genres, including rural and urban landscapes, figures, and still lifes. Brown says that each genre speaks to her and compares the variety to having multiple best friends. “You love your best friends equally, but each gives you something specific from their own nature,” she says.

Still, Brown says if forced to choose, her real “best friend” is anything she paints outdoors or from life. “Painting from life creates an intimacy with the subject that I just can’t get from a photograph, and it heightens my sense of spontaneity,” she says. “That energy is translated to the canvas in and out of the studio.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Brazier Gallery, Richmond, VA; Simie Maryles Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Addison Gallery, Delray Beach, FL; Leiper’s Creek Gallery, Franklin, TN; Edward Montgomery Fine Art, Carmel, CA; Gardner Colby Galleries, Naples, FL.

Featured in the April 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art April 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook