Brooke Rothshank – Goshen, Indiana
Brooke Rothshank has been working as a studio artist since 2002. She is a painter/illustrator working in a variety of media including watercolor, oil, acrylic and egg tempera paint. Brooke’s work as a miniature artist has been exhibited around the country and featured in both Miniature Collector and Dollhouse Miniatures magazines. Brooke has illustrated three children’s book for Herald Press, and is currently working on a fourth illustration project that she is pursuing independently.
Brooke’s painting work has been exhibited at the Penland Gallery, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Chicago International Miniature Show. In October 2016, Brooke will exhibit her work in collaboration with her husband, potter Justin Rothshank, at Ferrin Gallery in North Adams, MA. “Know Justice” will focus on American politics, the supreme court, and presidential history.
Brooke is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the International Guild of Miniature Artists. She has regularly taught miniature portrait painting for the International Guild of Miniature Artisans School in Castine, Maine since 2010. She has also been awarded artisan status, and an independent study grant from IGMA.
Painting one object per day for a year (2015), I experienced creating as ritual and discipline. All the paintings were posted on Instagram and Facebook, making this a daily exercise in the vulnerability of communicating thru the unlimited access of social media, responding to anonymous group critique and feedback. This focused and consistent painting has allowed me to more fully embrace the time in life where I need to feed both my artistic self and my family.
My 2016 solo exhibition at Penland Gallery is based on this experience. My paintings highlight common objects that are part of daily routine in the creative and domestic life. The lines between parent and artist blur as home life and artistic pursuits are constantly overlapping and taking turns in the spotlight. This painting approach simultaneously suggests the preciousness of each painted object while also representing the common routine of a daily exercise. It is significant that as a parent of three children under the age of 10, studio time is now much more efficient but often brief and as a result frustrating. In contrast, parenting while sometimes spectacular can feel long and mundane. Painting small and often has allowed me to embrace what can at times feel like a dual identity.
Several of my paintings are exhibited together in recipe groupings, highlighting small collections of objects. Recipe can be defined both as a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required and also as something that is likely to lead to a particular outcome. These small collections (recipes) and individual paintings (ingredients) are reflective of my combined domestic and artistic identity. The floating component is reminiscent of the butterflies and insects my father taught me to pin as a child. Similar to those specimens removed from their natural context, these are the ingredients required for a feeling or experience isolated from my own personal outcomes.
Materials | Techniques
All of the watercolors are painted on paper. The egg tempera squares are painted on small wooden boards coated with traditional hand made gesso. The gesso is applied and sanded several times to achieve a smooth surface. The tempera paints are mixed with pigment and egg yolk by hand. The egg tempera cut out paintings are paint on paper.
I draw the image first using a mechanical pencil that I sharpen by rubbing the lead on scrap paper until it reaches a fine point. I paint with Sennelier watercolors and the occasional gouache. I primarily use two brushes, 5/0 Rosemary and Company Pure Sable Series 90 and 5/0 Da Vinci Pure Kolinsky series 1505. I have an exact-o blade on hand to help scrape away very small mistakes. I have a magnifying headset, but I hardly ever use it. I’m nearsighted and so I take my glasses off to paint.
The FOCUS GALLERY program features four single or paired artist exhibitions annually.