A life undressed

Photographs of brightly painted doors march through a combination of oil and watercolor canvas titled, “Door Corps.” A lily in vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow in quantifying detail stands out on a dark bluish-black silk backdrop titled, “Gloriosa Lily.” These are only two of the paintings that make Peggy Milburn Brown a popular and award-winning artist.

"Door Corps” Their shape is a symbol. They could represent so many phases that one could go through in life's journey. A closing, a new beginning, a passage or transition, so many possibilities.

     Raised in Chattanooga, attending school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and meeting her husband, who retired a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, she sighs happily, “I went literally off into the sunset.” As an artist and military wife she dabbled in everything from ceramics, pottery, lithography and paintings on silk while raising her children, and moving around the United States.

     After settling in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1980’s, her husband suggested she take art classes at Auburn University and there she received her degree. However, before “I could begin my ‘second career,’ we were relocated to Copenhagen. “In Copenhagen, she was Community Liaison Officer at the American Embassy and began her art career oversees. She designed the Ambassador’s Christmas cards, created pen and ink invitations, and even took time out to hold her first one woman art show. The successful show featured paintings on silk and lithography making her a name in the Dutch art community. Some of her pieces are displayed in the Royal Greenland Trade Company in Copenhagen.

     After three years of success overseas, they were reassigned to Montgomery, Alabama and never left. She became a freelance art director and obtained a position at the University of Montgomery, where she was their first graphic designer. She later taught the first graphic design classes at the university, finally retiring two years ago to further pursue her art career.

     She loves to experiment and at the moment has found great success in experimenting with mixed media where she pushes all to the limit. Her third door series, beginning with “Door Corps,” allows her to “get into the messy side of art,” and dirtying up her hands in print making, watercolor, collage and relief printing; sometimes all on one canvas. Peggy has people tell her “Oh, you’re the one who paints the doors,” and laughingly tell me, “I am fast becoming ‘The Door Lady.’”

     However, she is not limiting herself to doors. Her newest work is using Prismacolor. After using the waxy colored pencil she mashes, the strokes and blends them together so “they play together nicely” in a technique called “Burnish.” Her favorite Prismacolor drawings feature the Vietnamese Gooseneck Gourds. These large 20×20 pieces of art are “minimal but very detailed.”

     In October of 2007, she completed 45 different pieces of work for another successful one woman art show at the Performance Center in Selma, Alabama. She will be working with another artist to have a show again in the Center. This exhibit will focus on her mixed media pieces of work and her watercolors.

     When not preparing for shows, Peggy spends her time traveling, teaching workshops or creating pieces in her workspace, PM Brown Studio. “Door Corps” and “Up from the Depths” were recently chosen for an exhibition by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art for their Biennial Celebration. More work is showing at Selma Art Guild Gallery in Selma, Alabama and Black Belt Treasures, Camden, Alabama.

     Her one love “is to leave the viewer to determine what they see.” So what is it you see when you look at colors that appear to change, in a set of vibrant tulips titled, “Springtime” – or Santa Fe doors against an abstract Rio Grande Gorge in “John-Wayne Doesn’t Live Here Anymore?” The choice is yours.

 Editor’s note: This feature was written by Colleen Ayala (AAPJ) of  Texas region. Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2008-09 Vol. No.3, Main Section of the Art-to-Art Palette Journal print edition, there has been no updates made as it appears here and in its partial reprint format.

A Life undressed-Peggy Milburn Brown-AL

Published by on May 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Cover Section, Paint Box Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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