Deborah Brown, The Herald, 1994, Oil on canvas, 58” x 52”

Deborah Brown, The Herald, 1994, Oil on canvas, 58” x 52”

Jilah Kalil

Executive Director, Green Fork Academy

Photograph by Jerry Atnip

Photograph by Jerry Atnip

For my husband and me, collecting art is a way to celebrate life. In the more than twenty-five years we’ve been married, our collection has become a rich reflection of the road we’ve traveled together.

My favorite painting is a piece by Deborah Brown titled The Herald. We purchased this work twenty years ago while vacationing with family in Miami Beach.

I was immediately drawn to the rough and raw emotion Brown conveys through her use of both color and technique. In some areas, the paint is layered on thick. In others, the underlying canvas can almost be felt and seen. Some sections feature smooth, fluid brush strokes; elsewhere, the paint has been scraped away with fingers or a knife. The overarching hue is a deep red, with complementary greens to balance, but there are also small, vivid accents of blue that jump out.

This particular piece was done before the artist entered an MFA program. As with an author’s first novel, where the work may be less refined yet more instinctive and pure, The Herald seems to express the truth found in an artist’s early vocabulary.

For twenty years, my favorite painting has always hung where it can be appreciated often. Still, each time I look, I find some new aspect that intrigues my eyes.



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