Bright turquoises, deep blues and golden whites mixed with splashes of reds, yellows and even greens make up much of Nina Brooke’s paintings. An artist from Rock on the beautiful North Coast of Cornwall, when we discovered Nina’s work we just knew we had to find out more about her.
Her unique approach to coastal scenes and her vibrant colour palettes are an immediate eye catch. For Nina, her life and style as an artist came from a drive to make a living out of what she loved doing most.
“I got into art because, to be honest, it was the only thing I liked in the classroom,” Nina explains, “Art is a subject that has so much depth, visual stimulation, materials, practice and play time. I don’t understand why more people didn’t spend more time hanging out in the art room? Growing up I put time and practice into painting outside of school and university, you would always find me either in the sea or in the studio, as you would today.”
What distinguishes Nina from other coastal landscape artists, is her unusual abstract aerial perspective in her pieces. Parasols turn to hexagonal dots, bathers are cast with sharp shadows and white wash wiggling lines from the tide lap at the warm sands.
“What drew me to aerial perspectives is that not only did it help me to distinguish myself from all the talented Cornish artists and find my own voice, but I love bird’s eye views. Looking at the world and how we humans play amongst this planet’s surface. It makes you think, and that’s what art should do. A painting should be more than a flat image on a canvas. These seascapes are just the start of where this subject will go next, I spent over 10 years trying to find my subject and my voice.”
Nina’s passion for representing the simple joys of life in her paintings are strongly seen in her abstract views. She loves to look at colour combinations and different palettes that she wants to use, and then adapt them to whatever piece she is working on next. Of course a major influence in Nina’s life is the ocean,
“What’s not to like about the ocean…Apart from when you’re stuck at sea in gale force 10! The sea provides so much for us and I just really like to appreciate it. I think being brought up on it and by it, you realise how much it affects your life. It nurtures, it’s playful, it fights, it changes your mood from one to another. It’s playful, harsh, intense and calm.”
Her love for the ocean has taken Nina to some of the most exotic places in the world, where she takes in the bright surroundings for her art. Earlier this year she took in the sights of Costa Rica and Hawaii both at which she took along her art equipment and trusty surfboard.
However, Cornwall has and always will hold a special place in Nina’s heart and soul,
“My favourite place to go is down to the end of Cornwall to St Just, [through] St Ives. Then nearer the Lizard to Cadgwith Cove. Then for surfing I like to go to Gwenver, even though it’s so far away it’s always so special…it’s got turquoise waters! To eat I like a good deli like the Arc in Hawksfield and a good pub spot like St. Tudy Inn and Port Gaverne. My favourite new little hotspot is Fee’s Food, which has opened up in Rock. It has the best fresh produce and coffee from around Cornwall, I go there nearly every day, it’s perfect!”
To see Nina’s work and discover more, check out her website and also visit North Coast Asylum, an online Cornish gallery dedicated to showcasing artists who love contemporary art and the majesty of the sea.