Art is a bridge between whoever paints the painting and whoever is looking at it
"I recommend you do whatever you can to buy, rent or barter for one of Brenner's splendiferous creations. I met Bradford when he opened his one-of-a-kind Studio/Gallery on Plaza Street. I love his paintings. He knows the 'hows' and the 'whys' of what he does. The layers modelled by his loaded brush are like layers of sound you find in a classic Concerto or layers of flavors in a perfect Pinot. The poet Wallace Stevens has a few lines (in "Study of Two Pears") that speak to Bradford Brenner's art:
"The yellow glistens. It glistens with various yellows... citrons, oranges, and greens... flowering over the skin... The shadows of the pears... are blobs on the green cloth... The pears are not seen... as the observer wills." I own two of BB's paintings. Lucky me."
"Thank you Brad for the beautiful painting.
It looks great in our treatment room, I love it!"
"Bradford Brenner has one of the coolest (and smallest!) art galleries and studios we've ever seen. We have many of his paintings in our hotel and we love swinging by his spot on the North side of the Plaza and seeing what he's working on."
"We can't thank you enough for your fantastic painting auction item. Because of your altruism HCA is able to expand its' outreach to bring the Arts to the forefront in our community. Thank you and BRAVO for your ongoing support of Healdsburg Center For The Arts. Brad, you are a true patron of the arts in our community."
"Thank you so very much for the 'perfectly exaggerated scale'. I am so excited with what we are doing. Your art is spontaneous, astonishing, delightful... I could go on and on... it so reflects [my client's] zest for life and personalities. Many, many thanks!"
"Several years ago my friend, daughter and I were strolling around an art show in Scottsdale, Arizona. This was the first time we were introduced to Mr. Brenner and his art. He was so kind and approachable. He told us about his paintings and his inspirations. My 9 year old daughter (an aspiring artist at the time) talked to Bradford about her art. He was so engaging with her and when she told him she had a website, he said he was going to check it out! We all fell in love with Bradford’s paintings. They are whimsical and fun. You can’t help but smile when you look at them. This year for Christmas my family surprised me with wonderful vegetable paintings by Bradford Brenner! I’m looking forward to next Christmas, as I hope to add to my collection.
**Side note, Mr. Brenner is a man of his word. A few days after we met him he wrote a lovely encouraging comment on my daughters website!! She was thrilled."
"It was such a tremendous surprise to find another original Bradford Brenner painting in our home last Saturday evening for my birthday! I was honestly surprised to find our closest friends/couples at the house when Jim and I drove home from dinner. Everyone was so casual and easy going, but the vibe quickly changed and I could feel all eyes on me when our friends gently pulled the the sheet to reveal the landscape painting on the kitchen wall. "Kat's View" is beyond description! I am in love with it! You captured my favorite view with so much color, so much depth, so much electricity and energy and so many of the strokes and style that make me adore your work.
My husband is the most generous and thoughtful person in my life! I'm absolutely spoiled to have 4 original Bradford Brenner paintings on our walls. Your talent has always amazed me and you've done it again. I can't believe we own another original piece of artwork by your hand. Everyday, I walk around our house and admire, "Midnight", "Katherine" and the painting you did for my 40th birthday. They are all special and unique to me. In, "Kat's View" you captured the feeling and freedom I feel every night when I watch the sunset and enjoy our view from our backyard.
Thank you for making my 50th so special and so memorable with your work, talent and energy. Thank you for working so closely with Jim to bring the view to life. Thank you for being you!"
"Brad Brenner is the type of artist you fall for, totally unique and always a trend setter, never a follower. His style and creativity have evolved in wonderful, subtle ways over the years, yet keeping in touch with his identity and what his work has always been about, modern interpretations of people and life. The portrait we own by Brad is a treasured family piece and always with us to enjoy everyday. In this we feel we are not alone among his many admirers."
- Willem van Eijk, Glen Ellyn, IL
"There is not a day that goes by that I don't stop and admire our Blue Haired lady!!!! I absolutely love it!"
-Ellen Hojel, Broomfield, CO
"While window shopping, one passes by Brad's bright and colorful paintings. You’re immediately drawn inside. His paintings speak of love and joy. They are exciting both close up, thick in texture, chunky, and fantastic in large format from afar. His red-haired women are always amazing. Who doesn’t love red hair! His flowers are absolutely special. Our school is grateful to have Brad in our community. He gives back in the most special way, collaborating his talent through art. Connecting with the students, and often inviting them to his gallery, letting art speak to them."
-Sean & Carmen Callinan, Healdsburg, CA
"Art Makes the World Slow Down"
A tribute to Bradford Brenner
Intrigued, a walk through the square comes to a pause as artist, Bradford Brenner, is diligently focused on a specific piece. A father and son, stopped in their tracks by an art studio, are caught gleaming in awe at the infinite visual feast though the room not bigger than most laundry rooms and cut in half by an industrial earthquake coded I-beam. On either side of the beam, strategically placed oil paintings on canvas and, in the back of the room, a single rectangular table with painting supplies and an espresso machine. The simplicity is magnificent, basically a room of floating paintings highlighted by hanging spotlights creating specific tenebrism outside the paintings, but within the presentation of the studio using the paintings collectively as a purposeful image in and of itself. Floor to ceiling glass walls and door allow the space to feel far bigger and more open allowing the viewer a connection with their surroundings while strategic lighting focuses passerby’s attention.
Ever engrossed in this art studio, the father checks the website when he gets home to see if there is more he can learn about the studio. Brenner was able to capture the feel and look of his studio online as well. His work is laid out as the first thing you see on a timer, sliding through painting after painting. Scrolling down, a viewer can find some of Brenner’s painting projects other than his studio work and how he is involved with the community in promoting art education. The tabs or options at the top of the page are well laid out and lead the viewer to all sorts of insight, including the use of Brenner’s medium and how he mixes oil paint for his work. As Brenner leads one through his passion and much of the motivation behind his work, the viewer is able to find even more appreciation for many of his paintings.
Brenner’s work as a whole is almost all oil on canvas although he employs some use of charcoal while framing his work before painting. In the about/process tab on his website, Brenner goes much into his inspiration referencing a harmony of contrasts he describes as relationships. For example, he talks about the relationship between light and dark and how he attempts to create an emotion or feeling through that relationship that he and the viewer can share and connect with. His philosophy is unabashedly laid out and his work absolutely delivers. When thinking about Brenner’s work and what generally sets it apart from many other artists, one need look no further than texture. With masterful use of his medium, Brenner creates textures that accentuate the greater emotion driven by a given piece.
Finally, the arduous choice of which singular piece of Brenner’s to really spend some time with. With so many to enjoy viewing, it was easy to wait until one of his paintings really stood out. Whereas the work chosen is naturally inspired, one would consider it a more representative work rather than depicting any sort of naturalism. The work called River’s End stands out as a testament to Brenner’s brilliant use of his honed medium and ability to create texture. All part of the painting are light snow caps, rolling green hills, and an aesthetically pleasing cloud front. However, the most interesting part of this painting is that the aforementioned features are found as feelings, not clearly depicted in the painting, but left to the viewer’s interpretation with the mere suggestion of a river. This painting drives real emotion with a phenomenal use of medium, creating an overwhelming feeling left to individual interpretation through texture and truly representative of Bradford Brenner’s work collectively as well as individually.
Written by Michael Studer
“Education Through Art”
To visitors of our growing city, Bradford Brenner is one of many talented artists with a gallery on the Healdsburg Plaza (101A Plaza Street). But to members of a variety of north county school communities, Brenner is much more — he’s the artist who works with local kids to create collaborative paintings he then donates to charity, paintings that will raise big bucks for Sonoma County education this year alone.
This past weekend, a masterpiece that Brenner engineered with all of the 3-to-5-year-old students at Live Oak Preschool sold for $1,700 during the 41st annual Live Oak Preschool Dinner Dance Auction fundraiser.
Earlier this month, a separate painting Brenner did with kindergarten students at Healdsburg Charter School (HCS) sold for $1,300 at a fundraiser for that school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Brenner, 58, takes nothing for his efforts; all the money raised goes back to the schools
Later this spring, bid-callers at fundraising events for St. John’s School (April 14), Sonoma Country Day School (April 21), and The Healdsburg School (May 5) will auction off three more Brenner-and-schoolkids original pieces. All told, Brenner himself says the five-auction total has a “realistic chance” to eclipse $20,000 — serious money to spark serious change.
“I’ve been so welcomed by this community, this is the least I can do to give back,” he says. “Art is a gift onto itself, but, in this case, the money certainly helps these schools, as well.”
Brenner, who moved to Healdsburg from San Diego in 2011 and graduated a daughter from the Summerfield Waldorf School & Farm in Santa Rosa, started this philanthropy in 2013 with a painting for The Healdsburg School (THS). That first piece fetched close to $10,000, thanks to a battle between two persistent bidders. He has continued to offer the fundraiser to THS ever since. This year, after an inquiry from a kindergarten teacher at HCS, he added other schools to the mix.
The artist’s process for the fundraisers is simple. First, he gets acrylic paints, brushes and other materials donated by Riley Street Art Supply in Santa Rosa. Next, he lets the students paint. In the case of the HCS and Live Oak paintings, Brenner visited the respective school campuses and gave each student about one minute at each canvas. His only rules: No thinking, just paint what comes to mind.
“There are so many moments in today’s day and age where a child’s creativity is restricted,” he says. “My thinking was to let them do whatever they wanted; that way every child in the school would be embodied in each piece.”
Once every student has had a turn, Brenner takes the painting back to his gallery for embellishing and refinement. His goal here: To make the work ready for someone’s wall.
Brenner easily could end his involvement with each of these projects upon handing the finished products back to the schools. Instead, he and his business manager Jessica Parker make a priority to attend the fundraisers in person, interacting with members of each school community all the while.
At HCS and Live Oak auctions, Brenner took the microphone to describe the paintings — an overt attempt to pump up bidding. He says he planned to do the same at the three other fundraisers.
Looking forward, he adds that he’ll continue this philanthropy program “as long as schools keep asking for it,” and as long as event attendees keep raising their paddles.
“Considering how much of my time it takes, considering how much money it generates for the schools, considering how much exposure it brings to my work, I’d say this is a win for everyone involved,” says Brenner. We couldn’t agree more.
Written by Matt Villano, Healdsburg Tribune