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Brooke Borcherding, Painter (Seattle, WA)


1. So what’s your story?

  • Hometown: Santa Monica, California
  • Current City of Residence: Seattle, Washington
  • Area of Expertise: Landscape Painting
  • How did you get started? It may sound cliche, but beauty is the biggest catalyst into landscape painting for me. Later, in a college philosophy class, the concept of beauty being a universal thing that reaches and touches most people validated my need to be involved in aesthetic painting rather than conceptual art. I was not one of those magnificent prodigy art kinds who drew amazing things at age 4, like some artists. It wasn't until I took AP art in high school that I started an obsessive relationship with painting. The fascination of starting with a blank canvas and ending up with a complete piece of something beautiful satisfied my need to feel productive and validate my worthiness during a time of teen angst and a search for purpose. 


2. What helps to keep you motivated?

Everything feeds everything. If you don't feel like working on a piece for a specific show or something that will sell, understanding that all the work you put into other side projects, brainstorms, sketches, mini paintings or studies will eventually make its way into your work-- that's important to embrace, and be proud of the work you do even if you don't finish it. You can't bang out a masterpiece without your entire history of creative process.


3. When you’re creating, where do you get your inspiration?

Because I'm a landscape painter, I am influenced by my immediate surroundings and tend to stick to the scenery where I live; in California, it was palm trees, in Oregon is was the river and fields, and now that I'm in Seattle it's the beautiful urban chaos and glimpses of water. I'll be drawn to specific compositions of scenes, especially with a dynamic linear perspective, often a street receding into the distance, or crisscrossing telephone wires that help the eye recede into space. I'm not sure if it's because we are interested in traveling deep into a piece because of the mysterious beyond, but I'm a big fan of depth. Once I either drive, walk, or bike through an area that is aesthetically captivating for me, I'll either take a photo reference, but prefer to get return later to do a sketch or plein air painting of the place to use a study because then I become more familiar with the color and space that is so skewed by the camera's lens.


4. What are some inspirational words that you live and work by?

My father used to quote Nike: "Just Do It." That's a good one.

But more painting specific, I like "Paintings are Visual miracles made by human beings like you and me" and the one by Ian Roberts that sums up the creative process: "Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do, and what you did do"-- sometimes you simply can't dictate or impose ideas onto what physically comes out on the canvas in the end.

5. Who are some of the creatives you admire and respect?

My plein air peers in both Washington and Oregon are inspirational to me-- Brenda Boylan for her city scene sensibility, Robin Weiss for his sumptuous use of color and good company to name a few. And then there are those master manipulators of paint who create reality by means of abstracting the medium, which is a stylistic goal of mine: Qiang Huang and Hsin-Yao Tseng are amazing.


6. When do you know you’re finished with a piece?

Yea, this is the toughest question that will take more than a life time to figure out, and some people can argue that a piece is never really finished. For me, it depends on the piece-- if I'm experimenting and don't know what to do next, I'll let it sit until I feel confident with a decision to move forward. Starting and completing pieces are almost the same because they rely on the decision making process. If you make a concrete decision with intention, move forward and go with it, then it's done because you fulfilled that intention. Time to move to the next piece if you said what was needed to be said. You can't nitpick to death or you'll drive yourself crazy. And like I said, each piece feeds into the next, like sentences in a story. Other times, I just know when it looks right, it will feel done-- there's balance, good color/light, nothing looks too unfinished, and I gave every part a good amount of attention and consideration.


7. Any tips for other creatives in your area of expertise?

I keep on seeing this piece of advice, but it's so true: Just Paint. (or write, or sew, or whatever it is). It's the WORK that's important, and will show. Entering shows, marketing, worrying about inventory etc. can wait and will happen on its own. You can't just expect to make it big, or sell, or be noticed if you don't have something that is truly unique and your best. And don't cheat yourself-- you know when you're taking short cuts or it could be better. So just do your best.


8. What are your top sources of income for your creative work and what other sources are you pursuing, or would like to pursue?

After having my first successful year with a gallery in downtown Seattle, I am selling regularly enough to supplement my income and only work 2 days a week as a barista at a bakery, as well as occasionally host people through airbnb. Ideally I would be able to become a full time artist, but I'm young and it takes time to build your brand and seek other galleries that sell enough to make that a reality. I do like dabbing a bit in other industries because it helps to keep you socialized with the real world as well as give you a needed break to come back to the studio fresh and ready to work.


["Sixth and Pike," acrylic on linen by Brooke Borcherding]

9. Do you have any upcoming performances, releases, shows, exhibits, new designs or publications we should check out? Please share?

My gallery representation that shows current rotating work is with Alki Arts in downtown Seattle on 1st Avenue just 3 blocks south of the Seattle Art Museum. I have a fall show in October at the Scott Milo Gallery in Anacortes, WA.

My most recent work can be purchased through Alki Arts and smaller studies can be purchased through my daily painter site: Daily Paintworks - Brooke Borcherding.

10. What's the best way for people to contact you for hire or purchase any of your work or services?

*Responses are prepared by the featured creative.

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