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The Life and Work of Annora Brown

JOYCE SASSE – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR

Fort Macleod artist Annora Brown.

Fort Macleod artist Annora Brown.

Annora Brown's painting of the Evening Star. Photo courtesy the Glenbow Museum.

Annora Brown’s painting of the Evening Star. Photo courtesy the Glenbow Museum.

Annora Brown's painting of Gallardia. Photo courtesy the Glenbow Museum.

Annora Brown’s painting of Gallardia. Photo courtesy the Glenbow Museum.

There’s a treasure chest of Annora Brown paintings located in the Collections and Research Archives of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum.
The shame is that only occasionally have they been displayed or lent to other public institutions.
The blessing is that they have been so carefully preserved they are of pristine quality.
The excitement is that arrangements have now been made to have these paintings digitized so they can be made electronically available for public viewing.
Since the 1930s Annora Brown used pen and sketch pad, written word, watercolour and oil paint to show the people of south Alberta the unique beauty that lay at their feet.
Her base was Fort Macleod. Her region was the territory drained by the Oldman and the Waterton rivers.
Her concern was to study, identify and preserve the memory of as much of the culture and the flora as she could.
By the mid 1950s the Glenbow recognized the uniqueness of what she had to offer and commissioned her to paint 200 of the most rare flowers peculiar to this region.
It was an awesome request for a woman approaching 60 years of age. It meant that the various species had to be located (be it on mountain top or prairie flat), identified (by popular and scientific names), sketched and taken back so where she could paint (with watercolour and casein) an in-situ likeness.
Her studio was her home. As people heard about her work, they came from afar to meet her, view her work and purchase freshly completed paintings.
In the three years (1958-’60) that it took her to complete her commitment, she had actually completed 500 paintings (an average of three paintings per week). The intensity was absolutely exhausting physically and mentally. But she never compromised on the quality of her work.
The region today is noted for its abundance of wildflower species. Waterton Park has more than 50 per cent of all wildflower species found in Alberta. Fifty per cent of Canada’s rarest wildflowers are found here, and 30 per cent of those are found only in this region.

(Contributions to digitizing can be made to Joyce Sasse for The Annora Brown Project, P.O. Box 92, Pincher Creek, T0K 1W0.)

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Don cooped Says:

    The masthead of the gazette was drawn by miss brown.