Brenda has been a watercolorist for twenty five years. Her paintings have have been published in magazines, won awards in local and regional competitions, and are included in many private collections.
In November 2014 she donated her most recent painting, Cat Brier, Hadden Woods, to the Young Professionals of Columbus for their annual event, Time For Art. It was auctioned for 100 volunteer hours to benefit a local charity. The painting was also chosen to receive the Carmike Cinema’s Corporate Sponsor Award. Nine of her paintings appear in Leffel’s Tales, stories of her father’s childhood, which she wrote and self-published in 2014. Southern Magnolia won the Manfred Metcalf Award in the 2013 Columbus Artists’ Guild Annual Show. St. Elmo, was submitted to the Joseph House Art Gallery’s historic Columbus competition in 2008 and was subsequently published in their post card book, Postcards from the Palette.
Brenda frequently paints commissioned pieces for individuals and businesses. A limited edition of her painting, “Isle of Hope” was produced as a renovation fundraiser for the Isle of Hope Methodist Church in Savannah several years ago. Over six hundred prints were sold in one day at their Homecoming.
She is also an illustrator and her work has been commissioned for magazine covers, program designs and greeting cards by various businesses and organizations. Some of her more unusual assignments included a whimsical walking tour map of Warm Springs, Georgia for the Meriwether Chamber of Commerce, and a series of tooth paintings used by a dental hygiene professor in classes at the University of North Carolina.
Recently, she began writing for Columbus Artists Magazine, an online publication promoting the visual arts in Columbus, Georgia. She is the associate editor and contributing writer.
Brenda studied life drawing, painting, photography and sculpture at the Arkansas Museum of Art in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1989 she turned exclusively to watercolor and studied under such noted watercolorists as Milford Zornes, Frank Webb and Jack Shields. She exhibits her work at The Front Porch Gallery on Wildwood Avenue in Columbus, Georgia.
For ten years, she taught a summer workshop at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, where she launched Watercolor Crash Course! a unique, rigorous, four hour class for resort guests who wanted the painting experience, but did not have the luxury of time that is required for more traditional teaching methods. Watercolor Crash Course! was a big success and students returned summer after summer to paint the latest subject. This class proved to be so popular that she began to teach it at other venues, such as Auburn University, Columbus State University, and the LaGrange Art Museum. There are now twelve subjects in the crash course series, including birds, flowers, and architecture. Students learn basic color theory by mixing colors from a limited, primary palette and they learn simple watercolor techniques they can apply to other painting efforts. Several students have well established “Watercolor Crash Course!” galleries in their homes; of all the subjects they’ve painted in classes over the years. Brenda has created other classes such as Drawing Crash Course!, Mother Nature in Watercolor, Paint Your House, and Autumn Leaves. When she began teaching at Columbus State in 2007, she had an opportunity to develop and teach more traditional classes and created Beginning Watercolor, Intermediate Watercolor (Still Life and Landscapes), Drawing Fundamentals, and Composition for the Painter.
Brenda was born in Columbus, the daughter of James and Beatrice Stubbs. She attended Jordan High School and Columbus College. Although she delighted in traveling to Europe and cruising to far away places, she says she is now quite happy to live on a small, quiet lake in Harris County with her husband, Kenny Gray, and their Jack Russell terrier, Lucy.