• Marja Brown

In the Frame


This must be the best feeling ever, with my tiny, sleepy Sunny nestled up against me, listening to his sweet puppy breaths, stroking his soft golden coat. His eyes are nearly open. He’s being weaned on Sunday, so next week he’ll be learning to stand up and topple over into a dish of milk with his brothers and sisters. I can’t help but be amazed at the stitches in the tapestry of my life as we sit together under this painting of Corfe Castle.


I´ve painted Corfe Castle many times but for this commission, I added texture, which I love, and adjusted the colours to suit the surroundings. The commission came from Dawn, Sunny´s lovely breeder and led me to this moment. I’m left in no doubt that everything, no matter how small, has a purpose.


This set me thinking about my own walls, and wondering what influences people to choose a particular print or painting to enhance their homes. I recall the oil-painted seascapes of my childhood home in their ornate frames. When I left and moved into a flat among the beads and flowing kaftans of the psychedelic 60s, my walls were decorated with silver foil and bright orange paint. I hung collage work, mandalas, ethnic designs in all the bright colours of that era.


It’s always been about colour for me. My mother was a seamstress and I used to sit by her machine as it whirred, playing with ribbons and pieces of fabric. She inspired a love of crafts, sewing and crochet, and taught me about colour co-ordination. Though for some people it doesn´t matter at all, it was important to her, and it´s important to me. Colours have a powerful effect on my psyche and I´ve been known to drive back home to get changed because I´ve thrown the wrong colour jacket on over a pink t shirt and it feels just too uncomfortable. Nobody else would notice. My home too, must be colour harmonious, so with red cushions and throws in the winter, I´ll hang a red painting. Turquoise for the summer. I have the luxury of a collection to choose from because my walls serve as storage space for some of my bigger pieces.




I enjoy working on the presentation of the final product, from a freshly varnished canvas to a painting ready to hang on the wall. I always continue a painting onto the sides of the canvas so that it can be hung unframed and I´ve recently discovered floating frames which create a fabulous 3-dimensional effect, so naturally I´ve ordered some. The paintings look so fresh and vivid. They seem to jump out of the frame. Something else I’ve found out is that I can have my larger pieces displayed on canvas as prints, and these too will be available soon on my website. We´ve come a long way from the days when austere, unsmiling portraits watched you, safely contained, thank goodness, in their heavy, gilded frames.


Not only am I thinking about the walls, but I’m also puppy- proofing my entire home, or my kennel as my friend laughingly calls it, tucking away everything chewable and checking for mischievous wires and hazards. I´m clearing out, spring cleaning, nesting. As I make all these changes, I realise I’m reframing my life and making room for something new.

It´´s going to be fun watching my little Sunny escape from this meticulous frame I’m creating to contain him.


You can bet he will.!


Marja Brown

Landscape Artist


Original paintings and prints seen here are available on my website, commissions accepted with joy.


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