Published August 28th, 2013
Watercolor Students put on Abstract Art Show to Honor Beloved Teacher
By Clare Varellas
Fortress 20"x26" watercolor by Jenifer Peake Kolkhorst
For over 40 years, local artist and watercolor teacher Marianne Brown has devoted three days a week to inspiring and critiquing the work of aspiring artists from around the area, teaching hundreds of students everything from colors to creativity. So after 25 years of learning from Brown's supportive comments and demonstrative brush strokes, Orinda resident and artist Jenifer Kolkhorst sought a way to honor Brown's superb teaching abilities.
"I love [Brown's] art and I love her as a teacher," said Kolkhorst. "I still take classes with her because she gives a great critique and she's always inspiring."
In the end, Kolkhorst decided to hold an art show at the Orinda Library Art Gallery as a tribute to Brown, showcasing the beautiful abstract watercolor paintings of Brown, herself, and Diane Goldstein, a San Francisco artist and a previous student of Brown's. In addition to the non-objective paintings of the three women, the ceramic work of long-time art teacher and Lafayette resident Emanuel Rosenheim will be on display in the gallery cases.
Kolkhorst, who took her first class under Brown in the late 1980s, appreciates how Brown supports her students to use their own techniques and ideas. Brown, who received bachelor's and master's degrees in artistic fields and has written articles and a book about art, specializes in teaching experimental, abstract watercolor painting.
"It's interesting over the years to see people that come in [to Brown's classes] who are accomplished painters and want to loosen up or learn more techniques or be more experimental," said Kolkhorst. "She's a great teacher for that."
Goldstein, who studied under Brown for about seven years and felt inspired by Brown and her unique approach to art, was happy to honor Brown by participating in the exhibit.
"She would do demonstrations, where you would see her working with a technique, which were very informative," said Goldstein. "She's very open. You don't have to paint like Marianne; you can find your own voice, and she's very supportive."
Brown, who taught her first class in 1972 and now teaches at the Hacienda de las Flores through the Moraga Parks and Recreation program, was extremely touched by her students' thought to honor her through the art show.
"I've got wonderful students," said Brown. "I am happy that I go to class every week and I feel like I'm going to an art show. I get a reward from their work, their personalities, their individuality, how they think, and how they come up with new ideas."
Most of the paintings featured in the show will be abstract watercolor pieces, with the exception of Goldstein's works, which are primarily painted with acrylic paint and sometimes include India ink, charcoal, and collage. Some of Rosenheim's ceramic pieces are inspired by ikebana, a Japanese form of flower arrangement. All four of the artists featured will be selling many of their pieces at the show. Brown describes the exhibit's pieces as "individual, imaginative, experimental, fresh, and inventive."
The show will be held Sept. 4-30 at the Orinda Library Art Gallery. A reception open to the public with light refreshments will be held at the gallery from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8.
Subterrane 20"x26" watercolor by Jenifer Peake Kolkhorst

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