Watercolorist Bobbi Q. Brown creates vibrant paintings, drawing inspiration from Florida’s unique wildlife and lush scenery

Story by Ashley Blanchard photography by Rob Downey

Bobbi Q. Brown, not to be confused with the make-up artist, has always been creative and had a colorful palette. She believes she has been an artist all of her life.

“As a child I would get paper dolls and throw away the clothes that went with them so that I could design and draw my own. In elementary school, I used to do portraits of friends,” she recalls.

The artist went on to study at the College of Wooster in Ohio for two years and then moved to California. There she took fine art classes at San Diego State University and fell in love with watercolor. She experimented during that time, learning to create different textures, developing her technique and discovering special effects she could make on paper.

“The medium is difficult and fun. I don’t know if I picked it, or if it picked me,” says Brown.

As an artist, Brown dabbled in a number of jobs ranging from working in an art department at a graphic design company, to designing t-shirts, clothing and jewelry for local boutiques, to painting wall murals. For 10 years, she worked in computer graphics, designing and illustrating magazine covers and television ads among other assignments.

“I quit computer graphics because I was dying to get my hands dirty again. I missed the feel of brushes, paint, pastels and graphite. I went to work for an interior designer and did commission work for her customers,” reflects Brown.

ABSORBING THE LOCAL ARTS

When her husband’s job moved her family to Delaware in 1994, Brown continued to work in the arts by painting, doing wall murals and children’s book illustration. In 2004, with her son and daughter grown, Brown and her husband relocated to Brevard County. The artist quickly assimilated into the local art community by joining the Central Brevard Art Association, Brevard Cultural Alliance, Strawbridge Art League and Brevard Watercolor Society, and began showing and teaching.

In April 2009, Brown helped establish the Art Gallery of Viera, an artist consortium located at The Avenue Viera. In addition to serving as the gallery’s marketing director, Brown also teaches art in Viera and Cape Canaveral. She leads classes ranging from beginning level to an artist studio group that paints together on Friday afternoons.

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AN INSPIRING ENVIRONMENT

The artist paints everywhere she goes. In Florida, she is particularly inspired by the wildlife and tropical scenery.

“I think it’s about light and color, and Florida has plenty of both!” says Brown who gravitates toward Daniel Smith brand paint because it has the most pigment in its watercolors. Currently, she finds herself using lots of turquoise and purple in her work.

According to Brown, “Party at the Pond” is one of her most popular pieces, featuring green and brown lilies vibrant with color. Brown is drawn to painting living things like plants and animals rather than structures or architecture.

Being part of a unique vibe of artists represented in Brevard County is truly rewarding for Brown. “We are proud of the quality work we are able to get out in the public eye and to be able to contribute to the fine art community in the area,” she says.

Brown is living her passion.

ART GALLERY OF VIERA

Bobbi Q. Brown’s watercolors can be found at the Art Gallery of Viera at The Avenue Viera. As a founder, board member and marketing director of the 25-person artist consortium, Brown is delighted by the gallery’s recent growth to its new larger space at The Avenue Viera..

“We call it our happy place,” she says.

Because of the gallery’s success, the small group of artists who began displaying and selling their art in April 2009 have exponentially expanded. “The space is larger and more upscale; it really is a better space. There is a viewing room and ample storage,” Brown says.

The new gallery could fit up to 35 artists, but Brown explains that they are selective in their application process. “Our group screens every applicant and their work. It is important that their personality fit and that they are willing to market and contribute to the gallery,” she says.

Art Gallery of Viera showcases the work of 25 artists representing oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, sculpture, digital art, pen and ink, mosaic, painted fabric, jewelry, scarves and pillows, pottery, porcelain, fiber art, woodwork, photography and mixed media. And the gallery is currently accepting applications for new artists.

It offers a full schedule of classes for children, teens and adults in a plethora of mediums including paint, pen and ink, mosaics and digital art. Special workshops are also available featuring guest artists.