Donna Brewins-Cook South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
I am a freelance artist based in Sheffield and have been a professional practicing artist since graduating in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University in 1998, and have worked in various artist studios around Yorkshire. Throughout college and university painting has always been the driving force behind my work.
I draw my inspiration from the constant possibilities of painting and the challenge of its unpredictable nature in conveying a subject. I am most interested in the process of painting and the expression it provides, translating a depth of feeling that is both personal but also shared with the viewer. I predominantly use oil paint in my work for its texture and vibrancy, which creates a strong dynamic.
Psychotherapy has directly influenced me and renewed my interest in abstraction and abstract expressionism, with the freedom for me to use colour, expressive marks, line and allowing my subconscious and memory to guide my pieces. Some of my current work explores the raw emotions I have experienced through personal challenges including the corrosive effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), infertility and having an incurable auto-immune disease, Sjogren's Syndrome. Whilst these experiences are highly personal, I believe that by exploring these emotions in my work I am creating a female voice where one might normally be at risk of being suppressed and hidden.
Nature, walking and been outside in nature is fundamental to my practice and inspires me and when I am creating landscape pieces for example. I will walk either in the city or countryside to inspire ideas and find creative solitude on foot. I also use my subconscious and feelings as a starting point to any abstract painting, but nature also features within these works too.
Since the Covid 19 pandemic I have had a real interest in 'Art & Health' and delivered a number of Mindful Art Workshops for adults with varying needs, including a project in 2023 for the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Charity working with Long- Covid patients on Mindful drawing and painting workshops.
I have delivered a number of public and private commissions, including for a client featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs television programme in 2013. I was commissioned to produced a large bespoke painting as a focus piece for a living area and filmed on the North Yorkshire Moors painting a preliminary piece as research. . I have sold work in public and private collections around the UK and in Europe. I was commissioned to produce a series of paintings for an NHS mental health facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I also had two paintings selected for NHS Cardiff’s Arts Health Charity, Public Art Collection in 2019.
In the summer of 2018 I had two paintings selected for the prestigious BEEP International Painting Prize, Swansea.
I am also featured in a recent book about creative women. ‘WOMEN’ written by Nicola and Andy Wild, with some great inspirational quotes from famous women. I am included in volume 2, pages 70 and 71.
Projects and exhibitions
Private Painting Commission
26/11/2020 — 12/04/2021
I was commissioned by Private Clients to produce a large bespoke oil painting based on the Derbyshire Dales for a contemporary living space.
|Art Studio, Sheffield
Social Distanced Life Drawing Workshops
02/10/2020 — ongoing
I have been the sole Artist running the Millennium Galleries, 'Social Distanced Life Drawing' sessions since the 3rd October 2020. These workshops are in person, with a life model and attendees at Sheffield Millennium Galleries. The workshops are an opportunity for students of all abilities to develop their drawing skills, working from a...[Read more]
|Sheffield Museum & Galleries, Sheffield
'WOMEN-Inspiring quotes and Artistic Responses' Art Book
24/12/2019 — 31/12/2019
2019 – ‘WOMEN – inspiring quotes & artistic responses’ Volume 2, pages 70 & 71. (Copyright Wild House Publishing 2019, ISBN: 978-1-9163232-1-6, devised, compiled & edited by Nicola & Andy Wild).
|International Book., UK
29/11/2019 — 15/12/2019
This was a panelled group show via selection process. 'Meadow, sea & sunlight, St Ives 2004' (2019, oil on wood) certainly did the round of Yorkshire Shows in 2019! It was great to have the painting selected in such a diverse, vibrant, modern painting show and a real privilege to finally exhibit in central Sheffield. Although I've had...[Read more]
|Gallery 35, Sheffield
Life Drawing Classes - Artist Teaching
27/09/2019 — 06/03/2020
I was one of the Artists on a weekly rota teaching Life Drawing to Adults and FE Students at the Millennium Galleries on Friday mornings. The workshops are an opportunity for students to develop their drawing skills, working from a nude model with support from myself an experienced art tutor and practitioner.
A mix of models are used...[Read more]
|Sheffield Millennium Galleries, Sheffield
ArtBound Summer Group Show – ‘Tales of the Iconic’.
09/07/2019 — 01/08/2019
A group exhibition around the subject of Iconic places and things. I had x2 paintings selected, ‘Meadow, sea and sunlight, St Ives 2004 (oil on wood 2019) & ‘Wonderful memories of Rhodes, 2002 (oil on canvas 2019).
|Hebden Bridge Town Hall., Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
'To the land beyond', Solo Show.
15/06/2019 — 26/07/2019
‘To the land beyond’: I was one of x6 artists selected for solo shows at Mersea Barns during 2019-20 exhibition program. I had to create a series of work based on my reactions to the estuary and mudflats around Mersea Island in Essex. “Through this exhibition, my paintings attempt to convey my response to the emotional depth of...[Read more]
|Mersea Barns, Mersea Island, Essex.
2019 – ARTbound Summer Group Show.
05/06/2019 — 30/07/2019
The exhibition this year was themed around the subject ‘RADIANT’ and ‘May Blossom’ (oil on wood, 36x28cm, 2019) was selected for the show.
|Legacy Arts Gallery., Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
BEEP International Painting Prize
03/08/2018 — 07/09/2018
I had two large abstract paintings selected for this prestigious painting prize. The title of these paintings came from my 'Invisible Series' a project started in 2016 and still ongoing. The pieces selected were entitled: 'Invisible I - with red' (oil on canvas, 91x91cm) and 'Invisible Series- Unsung Lullaby' (oil on canvas, 100x100cm).
HIVE International Visual Arts Expo
27/11/2015 — 29/11/2015
International Visual Arts event in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
12/09/2013 — 22/11/2013
I was commissioned to produce a large North Yorkshire Moors painting for a large Hallway in York. My clients had seen the Grand Designs episode (see below) and subsequently wanted three paintings. Two for their residence in York and one smaller piece for their holiday home on the North East Coast.
09/03/2013 — 21/03/2013
This was a solo show at The Station in Richmond, North Yorkshire. The show was entitled 'Walk-scapes' and through my paintings I depicted my experience of walking within the British landscape. The works were both landscapes and abstracts , ranging in size from 30x30cm up to 185cm. The varying scales were important to the concept of the...[Read more]
|The Station, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Grand Designs TV Programme Art Commission
01/02/2013 — 31/08/2013
Two architects featured on Grand Designs in the Autumn of 2013, commissioned me to create a large oil painting for their living area. They were building their home from scratch and wanted a large bespoke painting around a Bronte winter moorland theme.
|Season 10, Episode 3, The York House, York