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Loomis Artist Victoria Brooks Enjoying Life in Northern California Countryside

05/22/2015 10:53AM ● Published by Style

Artist photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Gallery: Artwork photo courtesy of Victoria Brooks [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

For years, Victoria Brooks lived the fast-paced Southern California lifestyle as a graphic designer/art director for television and movies. 

Ultimately wanting to be a fine artist, she went back to school to study painting and eventually traded city life for the Loomis countryside. Brooks recently celebrated her 10th anniversary of teaching international plein air workshops (her next one is September 28-October 5, 2016, in the French Riviera); in addition, she instructs a weekly “Impressionist Oil Painting” class at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center and a plein air painting workshop through the Mendocino Art Center. You can view her work at the Old Town Gallery of Fine Art in Auburn and Patris Studio and Art Gallery in Sacramento.

HLB: Tell us about your early days as an artist?

VB: I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and my parents gave [my siblings and me] art supplies to keep us busy during all those rainy days. I was always sketching and painting. In high school, I painted posters and sold them to teachers and students. Then in college, I chose to study graphic design, which included lots of art classes. 

HLB: What has been your biggest influence?

VB: Attending The Art Institute of California. While learning new skills, I also became friends with working artists and began studying the masters of impressionism. 

HLB: Why did you choose to work with oils and in the impressionist style?

VB: I studied oil painting because of the texture and richness it has. I’m primarily an oil painter, but work in watercolor and acrylic as well. I love the vibrant energy and painterly quality of impressionism.  

HLB: How did you get started in plein air?

VB: I’d been hearing how beneficial working on location—directly from life—was from my artist friends. I finally took a plein air workshop with Arizona artist Matt Smith. I had no idea what I was doing, but he shared everything with me and I was hooked! What I love about plein air is the challenge of capturing the color and atmosphere of a live subject. Capturing the moment with the sun racing across the sky forces you to see and paint quickly, giving it a spontaneous and fresh feel.  

HLB: What do you love most about your community?

VB: The sunshine! Living in the foothills is beautiful and sort of a midway point between the Northwest and tropical Los Angeles—[except there’s] a lot more open space and less [people]. There are many wonderful artists and art organizations here, too.

HLB: What inspires you most?

VB: Beauty. It’s all about the light and how it illuminates the landscape, figure, portrait or still life. I’m always “chasing the light” and trying to capture that effect in oils. 

HLB: Do you ever get “artist’s block”? 

VB: Not often. I have a wonderful library of my favorite artists (deceased and alive) who guide me in some of the problem solving that arises in oil painting. I usually have several paintings going at once and can let one rest while I work on another and think about how to improve the first. Most people don’t realize how much of painting is done in the mind first.

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