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Watercolorist Ed Brown featured at 2 Islands Gallery

By Staff | May 28, 2009

Open since February, the 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square at South Seas Island Resort serves as a public showcase for many talented local artists, like watercolorist Ed Brown.

Born and raised in Michigan, Brown now resides in Cape Coral where he devotes his time to creating stunning seascapes and immortalizing Sanibel and Captiva landmarks with paints and canvas.

From the 1980s to 2001, Brown worked as an ABC television affiliate in Tampa Bay where he was a sales manager.

After vacationing several times on Captiva and Sanibel, he decided he wanted to relocate to the Southwest Florida area and try his hand at selling real estate on North Captiva, in addition to spending more time on his artwork.

Currently Brown is focusing 100 percent on his art which he says is inspired by “Old historic Florida and my wife Susan! Not to say they have anything in common,” Brown joked.

“I just love to imagine walking the old shell-lined paths of Captiva and Sanibel Island back in the days before the Sanibel Island Bridge. I would love to see first hand the old wooden cottages and simple coastal lifestyle that made this area so special,” Brown reminisced.

“My wife Susan is my biggest fan and the person who encourages me, supports me [and] even promotes me so I can make my passion for art a full time career – instead of a part time hobby! Although my wife is an attorney, she loves to write poetry and she shares my love for the arts,” Brown says.

As a child, Brown loved to draw. He became interested in photography as a teenager and says he became a “total photo nut” because of it.

“I had always loved watercolor painting as an art and in 2000 I started trying to paint some of the photos I had taken,” Brown said, adding that his photographs help him decide what to paint.

“I generally start with hundreds of photos of tropical or historic waterfront scenes. I narrow it down to one photo [and] I use that photo for a guide so I can get the details correct,” Brown explained.

“My favorite subject to paint on North Captiva is the old historic Fish House. The fish house captures the imagination of all who look at it. The fish house has been around for maybe a hundred years imagine the stories! On Sanibel it’s the Lighthouse and on Captiva, it’s South Seas Island Resort’s Marina Dock Master’s house and the beachfront golf course.” he said.

Brown began sharing and selling his artwork completely by accident.

“I made a watercolor for my friend Bryan Brilhart, who is the owner of North Captiva Island Club, a resort on North Captiva. Bryan hung the painting over his desk and he told me guests kept asking if they could buy the painting! Bryan encouraged me to come down to North Captiva and try selling them at his resort,” Brown continued.

Over the past 20 years, like many locals and tourists, Brown made many boat trips, day trips and vacation stays to South Seas “My first stay at SSIR was in the mid-1980s. I stayed in the Old Plantation house! Back in 2001, I even sold photos and watercolor prints in one of South Seas’ gift shops,” he said.

“When the opportunity came for me to join the talented 2 Islands Gallery group of Artists at the fabulous space South Seas had provided for us, I jumped at it, and considered it a dream come true,” he continued.

2 Islands Gallery – along with Tower Gallery on Sanibel – is operated entirely by the artists that display and sell their works at the gallery.

“South Seas’ management’s desire was to bring the arts to Captiva, an effort to open the Chadwick Square area to the general public. They have graciously given us the space,” said Susan Sadler, noting that she and co-owner Perry Thompson modeled 2 Islands Gallery after the Tower Gallery co-operative on Sanibel.

“We both feel selling art is best achieved by artists working the gallery. Clients enjoy meeting the artists and we all have an interest in each other’s work. The gallery space is lovely and we continue to improve with time and experience, creating a fun artful experience for our buyers,” Sadler said, adding that the gallery’s next endeavor is to organize day-long art workshops for vacationers.

“It is important to South Seas to support the local community of island-based artists who are inspired by the natural surroundings to create their art,” said South Seas Managing Director Rick Hayduk.

“A gallery such as 2 Islands is in sync with the lifestyle that makes Captiva so unique. We are pleased that this gallery is located in Chadwick’s Square which is a great shopping and entertainment enclave open to islanders, resort village guests and other visitors as well,” Hayduk said.

Ed Brown’s watercolors are on display and for sale at 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square at South Seas Island Resort. 2 Islands Gallery is open to the public every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.