Stephen Brown

4 11 2009

There have been many art teachers in my life. The so-so teachers show you how to do it, the good teachers teach you how to be better, using what they know, but the great ones teach you how to see. Stephen Brown was one of those teachers. Stephen passed away on October 21 after a long battle with cancer. It’s hard to say he was one of the most talented teachers at the University of Hartford’s Art School, because they have so many talented teachers. But he was.

Stephen Brown taught painting. Oil painting to be specific. He was able to push and pull the medium and give a flat surface an enormous amount of depth. In his class we painted countless still-lifes, which I still have to this day, and he taught me that a white wall is far from plain white. He didn’t just say it, he had a way of making you see it. He gave many students that “aha!” moment, when they realize how to paint. And it wasn’t just realism either. Although his work is mainly realist portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes his teaching applied to abstract painting as well. It was about color and composition and movement and line and space and all the elements of design.

A few days after I found out about the news, I knew when the calling hours were and sadly I could not make it. But I was driving in the car at the time when I looked up at the sky I saw a cloud that personified the Stephen Brown that we all know and love. First of all most of the clouds in the sky seemed to be painted on – maybe that was his doing. This particular cloud was not in front of the sun but off to the side and had a rainbow in it. I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it reminded me of everything he taught. In one white cloud were all the colors of the world – you just have to open your eyes and see it. I tried to take a photo of it, but anyone who has been taught by Stephen Brown knows that a photo can’t compare to the beauty that came from his paintbrush. He was an amazing teacher and I am a better artist because of him, as are many who have attended the Hartford Art School. HAS will never be the same. His beauty and legacy lives on in his paintings. My condolences go out to his family in this difficult time. He will be missed.

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For more information about Stephen Brown here is an article about the painter written by UNotes which is a University of Hartford news website.

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One response

23 12 2009
Tom Fuller

Where did you get the photo of Stephen Brown? He was a friend of mine, and I’m really sad he’s gone. He was a brilliant painter. I visited him this summer during one of his better days, and he was really excited about his recent paintings. He said he wanted to show then to me, but was too tired just then.

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