The daughter of a career Army officer, Courtney Brown had a global upbringing, alternating between Germany and the U.S, particularly Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After graduating from high school in Kansas, she attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she majored in modern European history. European history is still a great interest for her, sparked by her father, two uncles and grandfather who each served in World War II, and her family’s residence in Germany after the war.
Though she earned a degree in European history, Courtney always loved art. She wanted to major in the field, but her family deemed that impractical. After college graduation and a stint at the CIA, she married and moved with her husband around the country as he earned his Ph.D., worked in California and taught at West Point and The University of Texas. In Austin, Courtney earned a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and worked there for many years. During this time, she reignited her love of art and painting. In particular, she embraced the Laguna Gloria Art Museum and began taking studio classes there.
Early in her career, Courtney painted in oils, but discovered an affinity for watercolors. She studied for many years under noted watercolor artists Sue Kemp and Kathy Summers. Courtney is a member of the Waterloo Watercolor Group and has showcased her work at their annual shows for more than a decade, winning awards along the way.
The subject matter of her artwork remains consistent and includes stunning landscapes and animals. She particularly is drawn to interesting textures, such as the grain and composition of rock and trees. One of her favorite works recreates Edward S. Curtis’ iconic 1904 photograph, Canon de Chelly - Navajo, an immense canyon with tiny figures at the bottom. The watercolor depicting nature vs. man received a Merit Award.
Courtney is skilled at capturing animals, bringing to life their unique characteristics and personalities. She says, “I love to paint people’s pets. Seeing their faces light up when they receive the painting is worth a million bucks.”
Courtney’s daughter and granddaughter are also talented artists and their work is showcased in a three-generation exhibit at The MAW Gallery.