Monday, November 30, 2015

2016 Art Calendars!

I'm Sadie Ferguson (Brenda's youngest daughter) and I have some very exciting news for you all! My sister (Brenda's eldest Molly), and Bren's dear friend Sue have helped me put together a 2016 calendar made of some of our favorite Brenda Ferguson originals. The cover includes a note that Brenda left for her loved ones to be read at her celebration of life. We have titled this calendar, "A Year of Remembrance" in memoriam to Brenda. We've included the birthdays of those who were closest to Bren in her last few years on Earth, as well as the date that her soul moved on. These calendars will be sold as long as supplies last. Each calendar is 4x8 inches and self-standing. They make a perfect holiday gift for all ages!

 ($10 with domestic shipping)

Note: If you are purchasing the calendar in person and not via PayPal (so do not need the calendar shipped) the price per calendar is $8.00.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Color Full Life

Brenda Ferguson
July 9, 1959 – March 23, 2015
Brenda's obituary at the Bangor Daily News 
is HERE and below
 Schoodic, June, 2013, photo by Carol Marine

A Color Full Life

Brenda wrote in 2001 that this is "the first painting I ever did plein air, outside in the open."

Lake St. George
Brenda Ferguson
Pastel on rough textured paper, 16" x 13", 2001
Collection of Bruce McMillan
Online HERE

Brenda painted it the summer of 2001 at Lake St. George State Park, Liberty, Maine, 16 miles west of Belfast and 25 miles east of Augusta on the Northwest shore of Lake St. George HERE.

Brenda wrote, "I'd been reading a lot about color and I guess at that point began to see more color everywhere, even where most people might not. Now I can't stop! I truly believe I see in a different way now when I look at anything. I hope my eyes don't wear out from looking so intently."

Look at those leaves. Green leaves? Yes and no. Blues and reds and oranges and whites and yellows (Brenda's favorite color) with greens combine to distinguish Brenda's perception of color, her artistic vision, as she began her art journey of exploring color, and explore she did, brilliantly on her painting journey from pastels to oils. One of her sheep portraits in oils was so dazzlingly colorful that through her son it ended up reproduced as a poster in a guy's college room. Brenda's colors brings out smiles.

Brenda's passion for color matched her passion for life and the colors she saw in everyone's personality. Brenda saw the best in people, her vision, their brilliant colors. Brenda was a rich person and shared her riches, her joy and passion for life. Everyone felt great being around her.

Oh Happy Day!
Brenda Ferguson
Oil on panel, 6" x 6"
Collection of Bruce McMillan
Online HERE

Monet had his water lilies. Brenda had her sunflowers. One of Brenda's last five paintings was Oh, Happy Day!. Brenda wrote, "Last Wednesday (August 30, 2014) was a momentous day for me. Momentous in a private, quiet, sort of way. It was the first day in well over a month I've felt well enough to be at my easel. Oh happy day! And luckily the sunflowers are in full bloom!"

Sunflowers bloomed in Brenda's favorite color, yellow, and more, as only she saw them. Huge sunflowers always grew in great numbers all around her family home thanks to her husband Doug. These flowers were always a source of inspiration throughout Brenda's fourteen year painting career from her pastels to her oils. Monet had his water lilies. Brenda had her sunflowers.

The songwriter-musician Dave Mallet, who once lived in their house, is known for The Garden Song, "Inch by inch, row by row, going to make this garden grow." I met Dave at one of Brenda's lovely December art open houses. That song's melody carries on.

Brush by brush, way to go,
Brenda made her flowers glow.
All it took was the paint to flow
and a vision which she found.

Brenda's eyes never wore out "from looking so intently." With her paintings she opened ours. And with her personality she made everyone, who was fortunate to know her, richer.

On a personal note, I knew Brenda for sixteen years, following her art career from 2001 when she embarked with her pastels to 2015 to when she completed her journey with oils. I'm pleased to have these two works, Lake St. George and Oh Happy Day!, alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, a pastel and an oil, Brenda's vision, Brenda's personality, in my art collection, among many other works of hers.

Years ago Brenda said of her Lake St. George pastel, "Brucie, this has been in my art closet just taking up space; I'm running out of room. Since you get it and enjoy it so much, it's yours." Brenda was always giving smiles. I, like everyone who was fortunate to know Bren, still smile thinking of her. I still hear her voice playfully referring to herself as Brenda O'Keeffe or as Brenda Van Gogh. Brenda lives on through her art and all of us fortunate to have known her.

-Bruce McMillan

Schoodic, July, 2013, photo by Sue Blier

DIXMONT - Brenda G Ferguson, 55, passed away March 23, 2015, surrounded by her loving family. Bren was born July 9, 1959, in Rumford, a daughter of Edgar and Janice (Giambattista) Gallant.

Bren attended Rumford schools and was recognized as one of the top two student graduates of the Class of 1977. She then earned her B.S. degree from University of Maine/Farmington in 1981 and a M.Ed. in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. in 1983.

Bren married Doug Ferguson in 1983 and the happy couple lived as educators and dorm parents at Maine Central Institute for six years. She taught several hearing impaired students for six years for the Augusta school system, and in 1989, began working at the Etna/Dixmont School as a speech therapist when Bren and Doug moved to Dixmont in order to enjoy life and start a family.

Over the years, Bren and Doug were blessed with three beautiful children: Molly, Lucas, and Sadie. Bren's life-long love of art continued to grow, and she painted and became a self-taught artist. As her art sales grew, Bren decided to develop her talents, and she retired from the Etna/Dixmont School in 2002 in order to follow her passion for creating beautiful art.

Bren's career blossomed as she pursued her passion. Over the years, her work has been featured in American Artist Magazine, Bangor Metro, and several newspapers and magazines across New England. Her work is also on display in Daily Painting, a book dedicated to her by artist and friend Carol Marine. Bren's internet business expanded, and in 2008, she created her most locally famous work of art, "Just Add Water", the mural that adorns Hollywood Slots in Bangor.

Bren loved and celebrated every moment of her life and was a dear friend to many. She saw the best in everyone she met, and delighted in all that this beautiful world presented to her. In October 2014, she accepted her diagnosis of terminal cancer and squeezed every ounce out of her remaining 24 months after diagnosis. "I love life and believe in the Universe. I won't fight cancer, but will celebrate every moment of life and will be at peace when I journey to my next life. All of our lives will be enriched by this experience and when I pass, you will see and feel me as I will be part of the Universe."

Bren is survived by her husband, Doug of Dixmont; her children, Molly of Corinna, Lucas and Sadie both of Dixmont; her mother, Janice Gallant of Rumford; her mother in law, Barbara Ferguson of Fryeburg; brothers and sisters in law, Greg Dudley of Silver Springs, MD, Scott and wife Dawn Ferguson of Lovell, Dan and wife Janet Ferguson of Newry, and Rob Ferguson of Veazie; six nephews; four nieces; and several dear soul mates. She was predeceased by her father, Edgar, and her sister Cheryl.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 A.M. Saturday, March 28th at the Jubilee Family Worship Center, 63 Elm Street, Newport, with Rev. Brian Woodbury officiating. In Lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New Hope Hospice, P. O. Box 70, Eddington, ME 04428.

Published in the Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine on March 25, 2015

Note: About 230-240 people attended this celebration of Brenda and her life.

Brenda Ferguson Portraits
How Her Friends Saw Her
by Brenda and her artist Peeps*
(* close friends, as Brenda referred to them)
with the reference photos

Her Self
Brenda Ferguson
Oil on panel, 6" x 6", August 8, 2011
Collection of Jakobína Vilhelmsdóttir, Reykjavik, Iceland

 Brenda at Owls Head, Maine with a plein air group 
including Carol Marine, Colin Page,
Marianne Smith, and Bruce McMillan
August 24, 2010, photo by Bruce McMillan
Also on this web site HERE with a comment by Brenda

Afloat in the Flowers
Carol Marine
Oil on panel, 8" x 8"
Collection of the Ferguson Family

Brenda selfie photo at Belfast, Maine
in her Brenda Van Gogh sun hat
More about this and
see Brenda's finished painting HERE

Pastels to Oils via Tie Dye
 Bruce McMillan
Winsor & Newton and Holbein watercolors, and
Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico
cold press fine grain 100% cotton watercolor paper,
7" x 5", March 29, 2015
Collection of Bruce McMillan
Also online at Bruce McMillan's blog site HERE

 Brenda at Spruce Head, Maine with a plein air group 
including Carol Marine, Colin Page,
Marianne Smith, and Bruce McMillan
August 24, 2010, photo by Bruce McMillan

Note that in Brenda's self portrait above from this day
Brenda left out the color of the tie-die in her shirt,
while Bruce left out the apron to enhance
Brenda's signature tie-dye.

Suzanne Berry
Oil on heavyweight canvas, 30" x 30", November, 2014
Collection of the Ferguson Family
Also online at Suzanne Berry's Web Site HERE
Bren on the deck of her home
photo by her oldest daughter, Molly Ferguson, 2002