PAUL S. BROWN
Paul S. Brown was born in 1967 and raised in North Carolina. Paul’s immeasurable talent for drawing was evident from a young age. At the age of ten he received drawing lessons in the studio of the leading Classical Realist D. Jeffrey Mims and whilst at university had an extensive apprenticeship on several large mural projects. In 1988 Paul travelled to Florence in Italy and continued his artistic training at the Studio Cecil-Graves in Florence for the next two years under the tutelage of Charles Cecil and Daniel Graves. After a period of travelling around Europe, visiting the continent’s most notable art collections and studying their art, Paul returned to Florence to help Daniel Graves open the Florence Academy of Art, an art teaching institution renowned for its commitment to the academic tradition.
Paul remained in Florence for a subsequent two years, teaching at the Florence Academy of Art. Paul is one of the Academy’s greatest legacies to the world of Classical Realism. In 1992, Paul returned back to his native North Carolina and set up a studio where he continued to paint as well as teach a select number of students. North Carolina has and always will be an integral part of Paul’s identity. He is a Southerner through and through, passionate about a hickory smoked hog roast, close friends, dogs and walks. Tracking deer or riding out, the land is his and his passion for hunting and fishing have been the nucleus for many of his most recent compositions. The sand and clay beneath his feet are vital to him; these are the red and yellow ochres of his paintings in their raw state.
Paul and his wife Serena now live in Dorset, England, with their son Nat and their dogs. But wherever Paul is in the world, he is firmly connected to his roots and they continue to inspire him. A true Classical Realist, Paul upholds rigorous standards and holds firm to principles of artistic integrity, emulating the techniques and materials of the Old Masters. In a process he calls ‘Slow Art’ – referencing the Slow Food movement – he works from life in the naturalist tradition, paints on linen canvas and prepares his own paints by hand, carefully selecting pigments and oils to his precise requirements. Paul explains, “It’s a good foundation, to have the knowledge that you’re using the best pigment, bought at the mines and hand-ground yourself. When I pull out a tube of, say, yellow ochre, I know exactly where it come from and the journey I went through to go and get it. That gives a history to a painting, even as its early stages.” Paul’s focus is universal beauty, and in pursuit of this he enjoys painting all subjects, concentrating on the nude and still life but also producing portraits and landscapes.
He is an exquisite draftsman, and his perfectly composed works are rich with atmosphere and detail. Paul has an immeasurable talent for finding the beauty in all objects, be that a ball of twine and terracotta pots found in his garden shed or dusty vintage bottles of wine, ready to be poured as a delectable treat for a connoisseur. Paul’s work is a rare combination of classical composition and exquisite colour and tone, made possible by his insistence on working exclusively from life and on using his own hand ground paints. These precise skills are particularly apparent in his figurative work. Paul considers figurative work as the pinnacle of artistic investigation. His nudes are painted with his characteristic restraint and elegance. Paul’s keen passion for nature is felt throughout his work and the influence of his upbringing, a Huckleberry Finn childhood spent roaming the outdoors and studying the world around him, is palpable.
A countryman at heart, Paul’s paintings reflect his love of nature and his appreciation of the crafts of husbandry. In his landscapes, Paul captures the lyrical rhythms of the countryside: the rust on a tin roofed barn in harmony with the fading winter trees, the tide ribboning away from a Cornish beach. Paul’s still lifes always provide a visual banquet for the connoisseur of fine food and wine. Much of his work is deeply inspired by the flavours of produce that make their way onto his kitchen table and is often a celebration of the journey of farm and field to larder, cellar and kitchen. His still lifes breathe on the canvas; the shoots growing from onions, the daylight fading on a newly opened bottle of Brodeaux as a ripe brie oozes of a cheeseboard. Freshly harvested vegetables and a glorious abundance of foie gras and fowl provide an atmosphere of feasting to some works, whilst others become moments of pause and reflection – quiet glasses of the finest wine sipped in the afternoon sun with ripe slices of cheese.
Paul’s timeless visions of vintage wine and liquor have found favour with connoisseurs all over the world. These paintings are reflective of Paul’s love of a craft that, like his artistic style, requires a strict discipline in its foundation. As he observes, “There’s a rigorous practice that has to be adhered to in the making of the wine and that is mirrored in the reverential process of decanting, airing and serving it. I love that. When I’m setting the paintings up I’m imagining the pride that a person feels when opening their bottle. That’s how I know it’s a good picture, when I’m understanding it and feeling the same kind of pride in telling that story.” Paul’s early training in Italy still resonates from his paintings today but there is a resolution of style through his careful scholarship and consideration of the French academic tradition, which uphold Paul’s worldwide reputation as a leading contemporary realist painter.
Paul first exhibited with Gladwell & Patterson, formerly W. H Patterson, in 1995 and has over the past twenty years been a pivotal artist within the gallery. Paul has exhibited widely, in London, Italy, Germany, Ireland, the USA, India and China. His paintings hang in public and private collections throughout the world.