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Remembering J. David Brown
In the 1960’s J. David was much more knowledgeable about art than I, and I deeply respected him. J. David had amazing teaching ability and many adoring students.
I was an OPP after Korea, serving until 1965. I began oil painting in 1958, and started using knives in 1962. J. David and I had some strong discussions. He often told me I should be painting with brushes, not knives. (I’m still mainly painting with knives.) J. David had no mercy for anyone who copied another artist’s work or style. Anyone who thought this was art felt J. David’s disdainful rebuke - and most would steer clear of him thereafter.
Over the next 35 years we took different directions. I exhibited across Canada and the US, and we only met occasionally. These meetings were great. We had faced the same struggle to find time to create better art and still maintain our sales - how to promote and find reliable art dealers. I believe as time went on with our successes, the respect became mutual.
Bob Blenderman and I are the last surviving members
of those original seven. Bob and I will miss J. David, such an amazing
artist and beloved
character. - J.K.
images courtesy of Shannon Brown
I arrived in Canada at 16 in 1966 to Kingston, which was just the smallest place on the planet compared to my teen jaunts to London while still in England. I was told that when I entered Grade Eleven I could not take art as I had not had it in Grade Ten (go figure!!!) though I had drawn all my life and had it in school in the UK.
In 1967 my Dad (Dr. Edgar Barnett) asked if I wanted to take driver training
or life drawing at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre....I chose the art
even if it meant getting up early on Saturday mornings.
David Brown was my instructor and I loved that class. I will always remember the freedom of the life drawing from live nude models, drawing my own foot with my eyes shut, different mediums (well charcoal, pencil) - and all these years later really appreciate the whole experience offered to me at such a young age by someone like David.
My husband dragged me kicking and screaming back to Kingston after my two-and-a-half decade absence, and have run into David around town - how nice it was to have such a character still in this town to brighten it up.
I'll miss running into him at Peter's Drugs.
My sympathies to your family, Carolyn Barnett
Thanks to my father, I had the incredible good fortune to meet and often happen upon David for an informal conversation over the years.
Further, I was fortunate enough to have J. David Brown sit with my father and me and have a few of his famous "discussions"....(even though the conversation became quite topical and/or philosophical....in my case, this was more than "ok")... I listened and left his presence.....thinking a mile a minute; challenged creatively; being given a confidence in following my instincts, my passions and visions.
I knew I was a better person for spending that time with him. Those "discussions", although few in number but great in impact, remain with me to this day.