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Gazette Premium Content Longtime Colorado Springs artists ready to retire, opening reception Friday night

By Jen Mulson Updated: April 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

Opening reception 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, exhibit runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays or by appointment through April 18, Tutt Visual Arts Center, Fountain Valley School of Colorado, 6155 Fountain Valley School Road, free, 390-7035, fvs.edu.

Two local artists are saying goodbye to the arts community that has supported them for more than three decades.

Jeff Brown and Catherine Porter-Brown, both 65, are moving to North Carolina in June after Brown retires from Fountain Valley School of Colorado, where's he taught for 31 years. He's been the artist-in-residence since 2009. Porter-Brown has maintained a full-time artist status since moving to Colorado with her husband.

A retrospective art exhibit of their work opens Friday with a reception at the Fountain Valley School.

"It's like a permanent spring break - it's a little scary," Brown says. "It's also a roller coaster, where I'm happy to be out of a young man's game after 41 years, and I'm also being a full-time artist for the first time in my adult life. People say, 'What are you going to do now?' If you're 65 and you're a lawyer, you can say that's the last trial I'll ever have. But if you're a painter, you can't say that's the last painting you ever have to do."

Brown's work has morphed through the years from abstract pieces to work rich with found materials.

"Now I do small pieces that are book-sized, that are pieces of found metals, material from cans, tobacco or juice or cleaning supply cans, vintage stuff," he says.

Porter-Brown, an oil and pastel painter, is often called a "magic realist." Her career began with portraits and transformed into dream imagery. She credits the Jungian dream group she's been a part of for nearly two decades with helping her discover inspiring dream images for her work.

"You're given images in the dream state you could never come up with in your waking moments," she says, "juxtapositions of person and place and objects. One of the pieces in the show is of a woman floating in a pool, and there's a school of koi fish swimming underneath her. I often dreamt about growing fish in my dreams."

The couple has a summer studio set up in northern New Mexico and plans to maintain ties with the local arts community. They'll miss the great camaraderie here, Brown says.

"There's an old guard that came in after the Broadmoor Art Academy, with Don and Maxine Green, Eric Bransby, Bill Burgess, Edgar Britton," he says, "and then there's the younger generation, like the Felixes and Sean O'Meallie, Carol Dass, Steve Morath, our generation. And now there's the younger Modbo crowd marching in, bringing new strength and new ideas."

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270, jen.mulson@gazette.com

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