Imagine her chuckling as she recalled, in her autobiography, returning to the Prairies from Ontario School of Art in 1929. She wrote, “I graduated with my head in the clouds, never doubting that this was the natural habit of man. (I never questioned) but that the world would receive my newly found wisdom with open arms. In my naivete I believed that I alone had been slow in acquiring (that wisdom). I was to find that it was a mistake to come back to solid earth still wearing (my) crown.” What a reminder for both those who are younger and those who are older.
Combine that thought with Brown-scholar Patricia Alderson’s conclusion that “(she) cleared the pathway for future artists and professional women in rural communities.” What an affirming legacy.
Do you know we still have two ladies in Fort Macleod who painted alongside Annora Brown? Did you know that the Sketch Club, started by Annora, was disbanded in the ‘60’s. The current Fort Macleod Art Club, with members from as far away as Claresholm and High River, took form in 1980. The social pages of the Lethbridge Herald in Annora’s time tell how she repeatedly visited surrounding communities carrying her paints, paintings and research notes.
Treasure her books if you have them. Her autobiography “Sketches from Life” has long been out of print. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if “Old Man’s Garden” could be re-published?
I love the note of respect written by fellow artist Doris Hunt: “Annora Brown’s art is the product of her environment, but in her interactions with her environment she is as much creator as created.”
Look deep into each painting. Catch a glimpse of what she’s telling us.
Related link: Annora Brown’s Paintings at Glenbow