Gold Leaf Designs


Sophie J. Brown


Art Gallery


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Early life
Born in southern Scotland in 1961, I subsequently spent a memorable rural childhood as one of 4 sisters in South West Ireland, where my father worked as a potter, painter and interior decorator and my mother as a weaver. We returned to England, to suburban Lincolnshire in 1970 before moving again to North Devon 2 years later. I began drawing and painting in Devon as a teenager, initially copying old master drawings, then depicting the village environment, portraits of my family, the countryside and interiors.

Fine Art Education
My formal art education began with an 'A' level and then a Foundation Art Course at North Devon College. I studied for a joint Masters Degree in Fine Art at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Art College from 1980-85. Here I learnt art history and developed observational drawing skills through regular traditional life-drawing practice. After graduating, I returned to North Devon, teaching art for a short time at Diploma level, ran art evening classes, and managed the development of an art and craft community venture for 2 years. Following this, I returned to drawing whilst doing a variety of jobs including portrait modelling and designing wildlife gardens for schools.

Landscape and Graphic Design
I studied Landscape Architecture and was fortunate in being awarded a scholarship to study for a Masters Degree in Landscape Design at The University of Manchester from 1988-90. There followed over 20 years of work in landscape architecture, with its emphasis on 3D design to create real environments, backed up by drawings (initially by hand, and since 2000 almost entirely using Autocad and computer software) as a vehicle for visual and technical communication. I worked for a number of private and public landscape practices and subsequently moved to landscape guidance and assessment for planning as a part time role.

During this phase, I also developed and trained in a range of computer-aided graphic design skills and designed posters, leaflets, logos, a magazine and web designs for the interest groups I was involved in, enjoying working with colour, shape and composition in 2D work.

Art & Design
During 2002, I returned to exploring art and design in a range of media. I initially concentrated on producing fine art paintings, collages and graphics, illustrated on this site and had a range of art exhibitions both in Cheshire and Devon.

Along this journey, my creative output and energies then become more focussed on developing a bespoke, original website design service (see "website design gallery"), where I enjoyed working with a range of clients to bring clarity and vision to their web presence and supporting them to showcase their work. There followed a period of greater emphasis on graphic design work, (most of which is not illustrated on this site.)

Creativity and Innovation
Since 2007, creative thinking skills training and visioning for innovation have gradually become a key focus, working with others to create programmes for business, based initially on the work of Edward de Bono, and since 2010, working with the team at Innovate with Confidence, developing a broad range of tools, techniques and methods for stimulating, visioning and enhancing creativity for businesses and organisations. In 2011, I set up Company of Mind in partnership with Adrian West to develop training, facilitation and design for innovation and culture change for businesses and organisations. For that, as well as designing and developing visual equivalents and designs for thinking processes, I also design our very picture-oriented presentations.

From this varied base, I move between these different visual disciplines as life and needs require and allow. Since 2011, I have been curating my late father Graham Kingsley Brown's artwork which has been an interesting journey, and in the 2020's began fine art drawing again, focusing on still life drawings in pencil.


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© Sophie J. Brown, 2001 onwards