With the stroke of a paint brush, artist Harvie Brown can capture the soul of a subject from a blank canvas.
Portrait of An Equestrian
He has spent the past 18 of his 21 years as a painter developing Western-themed artwork, including images of African-American female equestrians, the legendary Buffalo Soldiers and famous cowboy Nat Love.
Harvie, ’77, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
The Florida native also received the opportunity to work at Disney World in Orlando where he honed his skills with quick-sketch portraiture art, creating portraits for guest visiting the park. Soon after, he settled down in Arizona as a full-time artist.
Candace: What sparked your interest in producing Western-themed artwork?
Harvie: I think the spark came from the desire to tell a story through a visual medium that would help inform viewers about a colorful history never really told like it should have been told in history books. Growing up as a kid watching Westerns on TV was something I enjoyed, but there were no “black cowboys” or “black soldiers” fully represented on TV or in theater.
Candace: What makes your work unique? What tools/techniques do you use to produce your paintings?
Harvie: I take a realistic approach to my painting. I try to convey a sense of realism through a painting technique called grisaille — rendering in tones of a color, especially after applying gray tones to the canvas, that produces a three-dimensional effect. Grisaille is not new to the art world but something that isn’t practiced as much as it was during earlier centuries since the advent of “Impressionism.” My object also is to capture the spirit of the subject and convey that as effectively as I can with my paint applications and brush strokes.
Candace: What was your inspiration for developing African-American female equestrian artwork?
Harvie: After moving to Arizona, I met Kelley, a neighbor of a friend of mine who had a few horses and likes to ride English and Western. I became impressed and inspired so much that I asked her to pose for me with her horses, and as a consequence, I was able to produce the art.
Candace: The artwork is absolutely beautiful too. What Western art projects are you currently working on?
Harvie: Currently, I’m working on more Buffalo Soldiers themes, some of which I have already prepared drawings for in between commissions for other art jobs. Also, I proudly paint Native Americans because I want to tell their vibrant story through art as well. The Buffalo Soldiers’ and Native Americans’ histories are intertwined. You can’t feature one without a relationship with the other.
Candace: I concur. So what are the best ways for readers to reach you and learn more about your work?
Harvie: Readers can visit my website harviebrown.com or harvie-brown.artistwebsites.com. I have two coffee table books — “The Art of Harvie Brown” and “Art of Harvie Brown An Anthology” — that just published with the art I indulge in, which is at blurb.com. I also have another book, “Western Art of Harvie Brown,” that I’m working on to give a more comprehensive historical understanding of the Buffalo Soldiers and their Native American counterparts. It will feature more artwork too.
Candace: We will definitely visit your sites, purchase your books and anticipate more of your unique artwork. Thanks for sharing your story with SS&S my fellow alum.
Source: Southern Styles & Seeds