The moment an individual begins creating is almost certainly the act of a child; picking up a crayon, or perhaps the sublime pleasure of slipping your fingers into finger paint for the first time, seeing the possibilities of line, shape, texture at its most elemental level. Pure instinct.
So many of us strive to recapture such instinctive pleasure again, after the process of becoming an “adult” has raised innumerable impediments, and it is not at all uncommon to find artists who retired from a professional career and then rediscovered that motivation to make art once again.
Margaret Bromley is just such an artist, taking her first drawing class at the local Preston Art Center in 2001, one month after retiring from the University of Louisville as its Media/Marketing Coordinator in the Development Department.
She has studied in workshops under Jerry Stitt of Sausalito, California, Nancy Nordloh Neville of Cincinnati, Ohio and went to Umbria, Italy with students under the leadership of Janice Russell Beck of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Locally she has studied with artists Susan Howe, Judy Warren, Sue Hinkebein, and Joyce Sweet-Bryant.
Bromley has tried her hand at many styles, techniques, and mediums, but landscapes with a natural style seem to be her strong suite. In “Where’s the Belle?” she gives us an unconventional perspective on an iconic event during one of the most festive, tourist-dominated weeks on the Louisville calendar. There is no shortage of artists painting or photographing Kentucky Derby events, horses, bourbon, and hats are common motifs - Bromley has not ignored these (“Winning Trifecta”), but there is an unexpected power in how she portrays this simple community of locals waiting to view the Belle of Louisville during the Great Steamboat Race, a signature event that takes place three days before the Most Famous Two Minutes in Sports. Far away from the concentration of fancy crowds, these ordinary Louisvillians have come down directly to the shoreline of the Ohio River to get an up close view of the old-fashioned steamboats as they move along the river.
The unfussy approach employed by Bromley emphasizes atmosphere and a sense of place for any tendency to overwork the details. We can sense the camaraderie and easy understanding of local tradition that has brought these men together on a late spring afternoon.
Bromley has received Honorable Mentions for her work at the Kentucky State Fair on two different occasions and shows locally at Koi Gallery, Primo Oil and Vinegars’ Gallery, and has note cards at Regalo and Cartwells as well as the previous mentioned galleries.
On September 29, Bromley will be part of the Louisville Visual Art’s Juried Exhibit in the 2018 Portland Art & Heritage Fair. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the Marine Hospital from 11am-5pm. Jury prizes will be awarded at 2:00pm.
Education: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga