Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Canadian War Artist, Leonard Brooks Dies at age 100

Photo and Article from The Globe And Mail,
Authored by Phillip Fine
January 11, 2012.

"With the couple not able to have children, Reva put most of her time into being her husband's manager. “Reva dedicated her whole life to Leonard,” said fellow artist Sylvia Tait, who with her late husband, poet Eldon Grier, socialized with the Brooks in Mexico. “And wasn't he lucky.”
His artwork, teaching, writing and antics would all help him become a magnet for other artists toying with the idea of coming down to Mexico.
Many of his experiences with fellow artists in San Miguel de Allende, from sketching expeditions to dinners discussing art, were fuelled by alcohol, splashed with wit and occasionally ruined by a raging temper."

Please click here to read the complete article

I will be the first to admit that I had never heard of Leonard Brooks.  Sad to think of,  for I've been the loser for it all.

When I read the Brook's obituary, I couldn't help but feel that somehow, a great artist has fallen through the cracks.  Phillip Fine, tells of Brooks retreating from Canada into the art colony of San Miquel de Allende - which is noted as a colony for Canadian artists.

Fine's article gives us some insight into Brook's torment - feelings of being rejected in his native land and of an occasionally tormented artist.

When I looked at his paintings on his website. Please click here. I found a collection of paintings which at best, puzzled me.

Art is said to be the mirror of the soul.  When I looked a work such as 'Pueblo, Tropical Mexico' 1958, I found myself searching to understand what was happening in his art.  I found myself thinking of Vincent Van Gough, who painted in Provence, and his art illuminate the intensity of colour.  Having visited the Caribbean and Mexico, I found myself wondering what is there that so troubled Leonard Brooks, that the power and vibrancy and colour of Mexico was overshadowed by such a burden of heavy darkness.

Could this be the work of Canada's 'Vincent'?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is hard to get the drift of his style. He uses watercolour in an opaque technique that is either brilliant or messy or both. To his credit though watercolour seems to be a tool rather than an end in itself. I kinda liked his work.


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