For the run of Radio Golf, January 31 – February 16, ABET’s will be featuring the paintings of Belinda Brownlee in our lobby. We are very excited to showcase this spectacular work to our patrons, and please note that the artwork will be available to purchase.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

excerpt from a fuller article about the Pablo Painters, written by Liza Mitchell

BELINDA BROWNLEE is one of the group’s newest and most prolific painters. Her work in acrylics is vivid and bold, many reflecting her African American heritage. She is completely self-taught who only started painting on canvas three years ago.

“I have so many paintings. I paint all day,” said Brownlee, who has exhibited her work at the Beaches Branch Library. “I probably have about 300 paintings at the house, stuffed everywhere under the sofa, in the closet, I run my kids out of their closets.”

As a child, Brownlee loved to draw. She grew up in an artistic family. Her mother was an artist Her only training was “if you trace, you get a whopping,” she said. “That was it. That was our motivation. I’ve never been to school for it. I never even knew I wanted to be an artist. I think I realized when I was about 13 or 14 when teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle came out. We moved into a new house and I asked my daddy could I draw on the walls? And I drew Ninja Turtles and Bart Simpson all over the walls and from then on, I haven’t stopped.”

Despite not having any formal art education, Brownlee worked as an art teacher for nearly 10 years at three different private schools. “I walked in and knew what I was doing so they gave me a chance,” she said.

Brownlee had a similar experience during her first introduction to the Pablo Painters. She was encouraged to sit in with the group after moving to Jacksonville Beach in 2016 but she didn’t think she would be accepted because of the differences in age and race. “It took me about two years and I finally came in the beginning of last year. I showed them some stuff and I’ve been here ever since,” recalled Brownlee, who credits the energy of the group as inspiration.

“Everybody gets along, we laugh, there’s peace. You just look around and everyone is doing something different but we all give each other tips with that energy. We have supplies that we can share. It’s like a family. Men, women, no matter what age or what color,” she said.

“I thought when I first came, I thought because I was younger and black and everyone else was older and white that I wasn’t going to be welcomed in. but they welcomed me in and I started feeling bad like why did I think that? I had surgery at the beginning of the year after my back went out. Ms. Michelle, Tony’s wife baked us cakes ands brought them to my kids, they came up to the hospital and brought me painting supplies. They came and visited me and checked up on me and that showed me then that this was more than just a painting group. We all motivate each other.”