#CREATOR: Bethany Brooke

Artist, philanthropist and mother, Bethany Brooke is an abstract painter who is turning heads with her new series and approach to the sales of her artwork. For the past few years, Bethany has been an active benefactor to Al’s Angels, a Connecticut based charity started by Al DiGuido, which provides assistance to families challenged by childhood cancer, rare blood diseases, and financial hardship. With the rising success of her art career, Bethany has decided to donate a portion of all artwork sales to Al’s Angels. This local talent and inspiring mother of 3 is perfecting the blend of fine art and philanthropy with her current endeavors. We sat down with Bethany to learn more about her work.

1. What sparked you to begin a career as an artist?

Painting was always on the periphery of my life from when I was quite young, through college. I dabbled in painting and drawing, but never really focused my attention on it. Upon college graduation, I fell into the world of finance and loved the fast pace and challenge a career in finance brought me. It was motherhood that really bridged the gap between my corporate career and my profession as an artist. Once I took a leave from my role in finance and decided to stay at home caring for my daughter, I threw myself into all of my creative outlets and over the past few years my creative side has truly evolved which has lead me back to painting. Most recently, over the past year and a half, when I was pregnant with my third child, I began to paint daily. Painting is an extension of my daily meditation, it is a time where I can express how I feel and act in a very visceral way. My hope is that my body of work encourages the viewer to reflect and be still, whether it be through my Born series, Illusions series or abstract landscapes.

2. What was it about painting that intrigued you the most?

Painting allows me to draw from my feeling and inspiration and act from a place that is authentic to me. There is very little pre-meditation in my work. As much as I like to move and am constantly in motion, I also love to be still. There are ebbs and flow in my work that reflect that juxtaposition. My Born series truly exemplifies this dichotomy between fluidity and stillness. Between my prior corporate career and my role as a mother, I have always set the bar quite high with a very small margin for error. Painting has been liberating for me to explore my own sense of self and my relationship with not just myself, but others and my surroundings and memories. I am generally quiet, so for me, when I am holding a brush and in front of a canvas, it is a form of expression, a way for me to share myself with others without having to talk about myself – I love that and it is a very freeing aspect of my identity.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?

My inspiration comes largely from feeling. It is often fueled by those I love and memories or experiences, but it is all channeled through feeling. My work is not premeditated. I draw from images, aesthetic and mood, I select a palette and just go. Of course, I have various series that I create and generally, before I begin a piece, I know the direction it will take. However, there have been times where I have started off a body of work one way and it has evolved to be part of a different series. That to me is the beauty of creation – it is the journey to explore and push my own boundaries. It is my hope that through this process, those who enjoy my work are urged to reflect and draw whatever inspiration or feeling they crave from my art.
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4. How do you balance motherhood, art and making time for yourself?

I am very organized. Mothering three little ones is so much fun, but each day is quite unexpected and busy, so I approach it with a flexible spirit and rely heavily on organization and order. I paint in my home which allows me to work while caring for my children and it is the place where I feel most myself. It all seems to work seamlessly. I am quite lucky that I do find pockets of time for myself, and try my best to take time each day for reflection and meditation, exercise and time with my husband. Three things that allow me to be a better mother and a more authentic artist and human!

5. What is the message and story behind your work?

Really and truly, I have been moved to paint. It came on fast and furious over the past year and was quite unexpected. However, I am embracing it and having fun with it. There is no greater joy than to create something and have others truly admire or appreciate it. Afterall, my work is an extension of my approach to life, so it is something I want to be proud of and I want others to feel good about it. That is why it is so important to me to tie my art to a more altruistic cause in my charitable donation to Al’s Angels. Al’s Angels is a local organization that my family has been involved with and it is my hope that through the sales of my art, I am able to do a little extra for this meaningful organization. I have so much to be grateful for and painting is at the top of that list as it has brought me so much peace and joy, because of the role painting has had in my own life, I felt compelled to stretch the impact of my art and attempt to spread that same peace and joy beyond the walls of those who acquire my paintings.

6. How did you develop your signature technique/style?

To be honest, it fell into place. My technique quickly develops, sometimes before I can even realize. I began by experimenting with types of paint, different colors, different movements of stroke. My Born series introduced a new perspective in movement for me. Brushstroke and flow became an important aspect of my technique, and eventually, my style. Also, when you are painting while holding a baby and taking care of children, there are times when the paintbrush almost finds its own movement. I’ve come to love this balance of a creative mind with the freedom of hand.
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7. Is there an artist that you admire the most? Or inspired you?

The work of Agnes Martin and her approach to art inspires me and is relatable to me. I came across a quote recently that reads: “Artists are intuitive. They wait for inspiration. That’s what art is about, the intuitive…” Her words sum up my approach to art very, very well.

8.    What has been your biggest achievement/obstacle so far in your career?

Truly, my biggest achievement so far is the fact that I have a career as an artist to begin with. It takes some bravery to leave a secure job and pursue art full time. I’d never judge anyone who can’t make that leap- it’s frightening but exciting all at once. I think getting started and realizing that these pieces I was creating suddenly became much more than a hobby, and that a large part of my focus and drive had to go towards them, was an achievement and obstacle at the same time.

9.    Any advice for aspiring #creators?

I would encourage anyone who has an urge to create to take the leap and start doing whatever it is they love! Once you take that first step, the journey unfolds. Don’t let ego or fear stand in your way. For me, creativity provides perspective and depth to everyday life, if the urge to create presents itself, my advice would be to embrace it and not worry so much about the outcome.

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Learn more about Bethany Brooke by visiting her website https://www.bbrookeart.com/ and her Instagram @bethanybrookeart.

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