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The life and times of a valley artist in the big city

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It was June 1998 when Daniel Brown arrived in the Swan River Valley fresh from Los Angeles, Cal.
In his younger years, he was a master hair stylist who had studied with the world’s elite in London, Madrid and Toronto and styled the hair of such famous personalities as Jane Mansfield, Jessica Tandy and Gina Lolobrigida. But, he is also an award winning oil painting artist who has completely settled in our Valley to live the rest of his life.
Born in Port Calling, Ont. on Jan. 25, 1933, Brown is the oldest of nine children, including five brothers and three sisters.
Brown began his artistic masterpieces as a young child drawing stick figures in books from his grandparents library. His grandparents began to show off his works of art to visitors and before long they would start giving him tips on how to draw hair, pants and shirts on the figures.
During his school years, Brown excelled in subjects where his art aided him, such as drawing diagrams.
“I’ve painted nearly all my life,” said Brown.
Due to the fact that becoming an artist did not seem to practical, Brown decided too look for a career where he could showcase his abilities.
He graduated from Marvel Beauty Salon in Toronto in 1953. Shortly after becoming a husband, and after rejecting offers to stay and teach at the school, ventured off into crafting at a salon.
In 1966, after having worked at Kennedy Gilroy’s Hair Salon and Ronlyn Studio, owning and operating Crescendo Coiffeurs and Albert of Crescendo, and working for CFTO television station in the Toronto area, Brown, already separated from his wife, moved to Los Angeles.
He spent time as a styles director at Von Allour for Hair and was a master hair designer at Robinson’s Department Store and Beauty Salon before venturing into owning and operating Mr. Albert Coiffeurs Ltd. It was then that he met Mansfeild.
“My friend, Murray Burbank, was to come to my house for thanksgiving dinner,” said Brown. “He was staying with Jane at the time and an hour before dinner was served he called and invited me there instead. She found out I did hair right away and asked me to comb for her. She was wearing a toupee, it was old and tattered and she had an inch of black roots. Her hair had broken off from bleaching it so much so we agreed I would style her wigs.”
Just when his career seemed to be at an all time high, in 1983 Brown suffered a stroke which affected the left side of his body. He spent close to three months in the hospital recovering. When he was released it was clear his days as a hairstylist were over.
It was then that he returned to his love of painting, enrolling in art lessons immediately.
Brown then kept himself busy with two presidential positions until he decided to focus all of his energy into the Glendale Art Association where he was President from 1987 to 1989, and again from 1996-1997. As President, he set up exhibitions, ran an art gallery and exhibited his own works.
“Landscaping is what I started painting,” said Brown. “But, before long, I was painting nearly anything. It didn’t matter what I painted, I painted for the customer and not for myself.”
Throughout the years, Brown has won first, second, third and best of show prize placings at exhibitions and competitions in such categories as city scape, animal, floral, street scenes, and landscape, and sold a number of his paintings for $1,000. One painting in particular he sold for $650 then was later resold for $2,400.
Brown’s paintings are hung all around the world, particularly in England, Italy, Canada and the USA.
“I’ve painted at least 100 or more paintings,” said Brown. “I gave away a lot as gifts and sold many at art shows. Some of the paintings I did were over six feet tall.”
Eventually, the Los Angeles life was too much for Brown and he settled down closer to his son, who at the time was a pastor in Swan River.
“I had a sister living in Los Angeles and she felt if I stayed any longer I’d end up on the street,” he said. “I didn’t think that, and she didn’t ask me, but she arranged for me to come here with my son.”
About a year after relocating, Brown’s son moved to the West Coast and Brown decided to remain in the Valley.
Now residing at the Swan Valley Lodge Personal Care Home, Brown still spends some time painting masterpieces.
“There’s a place in Montreal that I order from, and one of the residents here has a daughter who brings me supplies,” he said. “I painted her a picture of chickens and ever since then when she comes to visit her father she visits me too. I don’t get many visitors, my family is all too far away, but I’m very happy now, I’ve lived a great life.
“I’m happiest laying in bed, looking out my window. It’s my favourite place in the world. I’ve worked hard over the years and have earned that.”
While Brown passes time looking at the views of Swan River from his bedroom window, many, all over the world are enjoying the views of his art and skillful presence hanging in their homes.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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