Western New York artist Judson Brown chooses pieces for his collection that please him, but as he talks about his collection, a couple of traits stand out.
It’s true that he seems to favor pieces that genuinely please him. Brown says he felt fortunate to pick up a piece by the late, beloved Gordon Wetmore at a Portrait Society of America convention. “They have a 6″-x-9″ sale at the convention, and it’s a wonderful way to pick up great artwork by the top portrait painters in the world today,” Brown says. “It benefits the PSA. This painting by Gordon Wetmore shows an English gentleman who is preparing to take the hood off a falcon and release the bird. I love hawks. I’ve done some paintings of hawks and dogs.”
“ADK Guide,” by Thomas Daly, watercolor, 7 x 8 in. Collection of Judson Brown
Brown also seems moved by pieces that ably present a scene with an elegant simplicity. “I like this Vermont scene Joseph Santoro painted,” says the artist. “It has some similarities to Western New York. A little stream leads you into the painting. It’s not exactly the way I would paint it — I tend to be more detailed. His is a very bold design. The mountains in shadow are a big mass, and while there’s a lot of interplay in the foreground between lights and darks, he broke it down into simple shapes.”
“Hawk Mountain,” by Joseph Santoro, watercolor, 11 x 14 in. Collection of Judson Brown
A watercolor by Tom Daly is also a favorite. “The overriding trait is simplicity,” says Brown. “It has that trait; it can grab you from across the room, and then it pulls you in and rewards you with smaller details.”
“Beauty Below,” by Judson Brown, oil on linen, 16 x 24 in. Collection of Becky Wheeler
Brown doesn’t have a large collection; he estimates that he owns just under 20 pieces. But he likes them all. “For all of them, I enjoy the work — they pleased me when I first looked at them, and they still do.”