She moves a bright turquoise pastel across the paper while Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” floats through the air. A new drawing is emerging. Across the studio is the original created 14 years ago. The piece, “Three Sisters” (Brenda’s beloved sisters) is being recaptured through brighter colors and tones, yet the timeless image lives on.
Brenda Singletary’s interest in art began as a young child. When the newspapers came, her father pulled the “funny papers” and drew the characters he saw. She followed suit and quickly discovered her talent for art.
Brenda began her pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. But it was after years of a life in television production that she decided to again follow her passion for art. She says, “ I didn’t want to get stuck in the trap – a career, a house, a car, and so on.” It was time to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneurial artist.
She began with a bold goal: “to single [herself] out amongst a sea of artists!” She set a route across Atlanta, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Florida, cold-calling galleries, interior design houses, and set-decorators. She carried her work selling to whomever would purchase it. She stopped into hundreds of locations a few times a year marketing her work. Brenda took what she could get often pinching herself in excitement exclaiming, “I can’t actually believe I can make art for a living!”
She also had the desire to become a “Community Service Artist” – to beautify the community, to educate, and to raise funds for non-profit organizations through her artwork. She began partnering with non-profits such as the United Way, United Negro College Fund, and other groups offering her art in a one-woman auction called “Art Rescues”. She would complete 70 or so pieces of art to be auctioned at a fundraiser, donating a significant portion of the funds to the non-profit. Twenty years later she continues to serve communities this way. “Art Rescues” have become a signature work for Singletary.
In 1997 and 1998, she was selected to be a panel judge for the President’s Commission on White House Fellows in Washington, D.C. She offered her services to the head of the commission and was commissioned to create a pastel piece titled “Unity” which continues to hang in the White House to this day.
It was not until 2013 when Brenda completed her Interdisciplinary Masters of Fine Art at Goddard College. “Education is a tool to get one started to learn the basic usage of mediums,” says Brenda, “but there are so many things you can do beyond the typical. Take it further than what [the medium] is ‘supposed’ to do. Demand that the medium does more…to get maximum results. Then the work becomes your fingerprint – an actual style.”
Singletary’s fingerprint confirms her belief in this statement. She works with multiple mediums and supplies: pastels, acrylics, oil paints, wire, fabric, feathers. Most recently, she has been experimenting with sculptural paintings. This process involves painting on a non-porous surface and then pouring hydrostone over the painting within a square stencil. Hydrostone is a building material which is strong, yet lighter than regular cement. After the hydrostone dries, the mold is removed exposing a 3-dimensional painting underneath. The painting is then enhanced with additional paints or other materials. Another element of Singletary’s fingerprint style is viewed even in her seemingly simple floral pastel drawings. She often combines the pastels with water or even vaseline. In each work produced, her goal is to “make the last piece better than before.”
A newer resident to Adrian, MI, Brenda has found her place in a studio at the Adrian Center for the Arts, where she prefers to work in the early morning hours before the second story, industrial-style building heats up in the warm sunshine. She loves having visitors stop in and chat about her artwork, which ranges from abstract paintings, sculptural paintings, floral pastel drawings, and figurative mixed media pieces.
Take time to meet Brenda Singletary at Artalicious and view her unique mixed media pieces. Her passionate spirit will overflow as she explains each “fingerprinted” creation!
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