Brenda’s paintings have have been published in magazines, won awards in local and regional competitions, and are included in many private collections.
St. George Island, won the Charles Lamar Davis-Allstate Memorial Award for Excellence in Watercolor in the 2022 Columbus Artists Guild Annual Show. Road to Fort Perry was awarded that honor in 2018. Cat Brier in Hadden Woods, received the Carmike Cinema’s Corporate Sponsor Award in 2014. She donated this painting to the Young Professionals of Columbus for their annual event, Time For Art, and it was auctioned for 100 volunteer hours to benefit a local charity. Leffel’s Tales, a book of stories she wrote about her father’s childhood and self-published in 2014, contains nine of her paintings as illustrations. 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 fundraiser for the renovation of
Isle of Hope Methodist Church in Savannah. Over two hundred prints were sold during their Homecoming one Sunday. One of her specialties is house portraits. Her clients include Sherry Jenkins, Grace Jordan, John and Patricia Hart, and Susan Gristina.
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.
In 2016-2017 she was the associate editor and contributing writer for the Columbus Artists Magazine, an online publication promoting the visual arts in Columbus. In 2023 she was accepted as a member of the National League of American Pen Women.
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.
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. Watercolor Crash Course! was a big success and students returned summer after summer to paint a new subject. This class proved to be so popular that she began to teach it at other venues, such as Auburn University and Columbus State University. There are now twelve subjects in the crash course series, including birds, flowers, and architecture. Several students have well established “Watercolor Crash Course!” galleries in their homes; of all the subjects they’ve painted in classes over the years.
Current Memberships: Georgia Watercolor Society
Columbus Artists’ Guild
National League of American Pen Women