Fine Art Paintings

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An early (early 1950s) portrait by Brown while taking classes with Will Foster. The choice of subdued colors would be reflected throughout Brown's career until after 1976..

Fine art generally is that art done by the artist to satisfy his own artistic objectives (realistically it must also satisfy the aesthetic needs of the people who will buy it). Some call this easel or gallery painting. Illustration often is done to satisfy the visual requirements of someone other than the artist. This of course makes all the great painters of the past into illustrators for many of them painted or sculpted to satisfy the needs of a king, an emperor or the church and later bankers, leaders of commerce and so forth. Most commissioned portraits are in effect illustrations meant to satisfy the desires of the painted subject to make a statement about themselves.

An illustration may however also satisfy  artist's needs to combine visual imagery with the written word (for example, as in the case of an illustrated book, wherein the artist does both the story and the imagery). Fine art is usually sold through an art gallery for purchase by private parties or public institutions such as museums and hospitals.

After doing a few illustrations for the local paper Brown got a job doing the artwork for the Hal Forrest comic strip Tailspin Tommy in the late 1930's.



Historically various art forms and styles have been condemned by one group or another as not "real" art. Usually such condemnation seems directed towards controlling a limited market as at anything else. Original art is produced at considerable cost, especially where there is only one of an item produced. This is because the artist cannot directly directly utilize mass production which can reduce the unit cost of an item. This limits the number of people who can afford to buy a work of original art to the more wealthy individuals who can afford an individually crafted sculpture or painting.

The commercial use of art is directed at reproduction of an original work such as in periodicals as well as prints of paintings (often called "limited editions." Illustration is also commonly used in product promotion, where theoretically the primary purpose of the art is to encourage some buyer to purchase the product or perhaps an idea.

As far as this writer is concerned there really isn't much difference in the various art forms. They are all some form of visual communication. The quality of the art work is determined by the ability of the artist to use his artistic tools to present a visual image that causes some sort of aesthetic pleasure on the part of the viewer. "Good" and "bad" art may be seen everywhere. I would wish that all art were judged for value on artistic skill but unfortunately art is more often valued based on the imagery or the artistic preference of some trend setter who determines what is or is not in fashion.

Much of Reynold Brown's work was done as illustration. Most of this was so because as Brown grew up illustration for periodicals and books was in its golden age. Illustrators were highly sought after and were well paid. Brown loved illustration and admired such greats as Norman Rockwell, N. C. Wyeth, Frederick Remington, Charlie Russell, Maxfield Parrish and J. C. Leyendecker.

Besides doing his substantial body of work for the movie industry and periodicals (illustration and its subgroup commercial art) Reynold Brown did many paintings for himself (and ultimately galleries and their patrons).

Although he did many fine paintings throughout his life Reynold Brown began focusing on his fine art work in 1970 after dropping out of the poster illustration field. His art was shaped primarily by his love of representational painting. His subjects of choice included primarily the historical and mythical west, ships and landscapes and Spanish/Mexican themes. He loved machinery, especially aircraft and so did a number of paintings as a result of a request from the Air Force.

After his stroke in 1976, which did considerable damage, he went through a long period of recovery with the help of his wife Mary Louise. The stroke changed his ability to see and interpret the visual world. After the stroke Brown would continue to produce art for himself.

This section is divided into two groups, those done before Brown's stroke and those done after. This is simply because of the radical changes forced on Brown due to the stroke damage.

Before 1976 art

After-1976 art

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