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Heather Mary Brown

Heather Mary Brown
Born March 21, 1955
Melton Mobray, Leicestershire, Great Britain

Though I was born over seas I have lived most of my life on the coast of British Columbia. Other than a few years on the Queen Charlotte Islands I have lived on Vancouver Island the last 32 years of my life.
I am self-taught as far as my artwork goes (I have often insisted it is not self-taught but inherited and nurtured). My father and mother (and all seven brothers and sisters) are good artists in their own right. I was always encouraged and rewarded in the long path to becoming an artist so I think saying “I am self taught” sounds a bit pompous. .
The painting that was selected for this show is an acrylic on canvas, depicting sea lions on a rocky haul out. The area could be anywhere along the coast of B.C. but this happens to be the Broken Islands, just off Bamfield, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The sea lions haul out here on a regular basis. These are all bulls (males). The females would be off somewhere else having their young. My father and grandfather used to commercial fish out of Bamfield so I often heard stories of these sea lions. They would describe the size of these bulls, and the sounds they made. I never quite believed the tales until my first trip with them to Bamfield and the Broken Islands. These animals are huge! They could pull their massive bulk out of the ocean with ease, straight up and out of the water to settle on a ledge. A secret pecking order seemed to determine which ledge. My father’s description of them as “ a bunch of old farts in a Men’s Only Smokers’ Club” suited the scene to a “T”, as the bulls lounged around for hours grunting and groaning, and occasionally flicking at flies with a flipper. My grandfather stopped the motor on the boat and let it drift with the swell towards the rocks. The sounds that these animals made were amazing but something that my father never mentioned was the smell, for as we drifted closer the smell became unbearable. I was quite young at the time and my theory was that this smell was the reason the females were elsewhere.
I have seen the haul out many times since. This and other haul outs have been used by the sea lions for a very long time. The colours of the rocks near the water line, the shiny surfaces of the ledges show the many years of use by these huge animals. I have painted this scene many times from many angles, I have painted the individual sea lions ‘til I think I can recognise them, trying to capture what ever it is that makes me return to see them again and again.
I have offered workshops and courses through North Island College, when the college was on the north island. I have taught watercolours courses, acrylic courses, and pottery courses for beginners through to advanced levels, children as well as adult classes. I always have the hope that i may impart some of the "awe" and joy i get from painting to the student. If they stay at it after they have taken the workshops then i think my work is done.
The last workshops courses i have put on have worked into a "gathering" of artists. We meet once a week, in hopes of adding to their knowledge of painting, and keeping the flame going. I think we will start calling the group a "Palette" of artists, their reasons for painting are as varied as the colours on their palettes, and they come from all walks of life. I must admit that i like having a a group of like minded people around, for the last 50 odd years of my life i have lived in isolated camps and communities and so it is nice to talk to some one else that cares about the "new Gamboge" or the price of a good quality natural haired watercolour brush these days.

Courses Taught

Sample Gallery