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Saturday, November 7, 2020

His Teachings Changed My Life

Gerald “Jerry” Brommer, enthusiasm for painting and teaching changed my life.

I met him in the mid 90’s, early in my painting life. Many can attest to him as a loved teacher for 26 years, in the Lutheran schools, but I came to know him in the realm of a watercolor workshop instructor. His love of teaching, watercolor and nurturing style came together to create the man I knew. A kind, thoughtful person who loved God, Georgia and his students.  Always careful with his words and spoke kindly of others. He was a prolific painter, compassionate teacher, encourager and when needed…a gentle nudge.

Painting, art shows and students filled his life with joy and energy. Into his 80s he was
still teaching 18 workshops a year. A schedule people half his age couldn’t do. But with Georgia beside him he could do anything. In 2008 Jerry and Georgia decided it was time to stop teaching European workshops. He was 81 years old. But they wanted to visit Europe one more time. No teaching. Just a small group of art friends traveling, sketching and enjoying each others company. For two weeks we traveled from Prague to Berlin. One night during dinner he saw me playing with paper napkin rings fashioning an elaborate caterpillar. The next night he tossed a napkin ring my way and said “no more worms, make me something magnificent”. Never one to back down from a challenge. I proceeded to fashion him a crown of napkin rings and placed it on his head. It read,“ Sir Gerlad the Magnificent” (yes, Gerald is spelled wrong. Read my sketch to find out why).  He played along with a giggle and a smile and proceeded to wear the crown through dinner. He never took himself too seriously.

Jerry is one of the greatest people I have known. His contagious enthusiasm for life, teaching and painting guided me. I was a student beyond watercolor. I was a student of his teaching skills as well: how he handled a demo, a class, a person, a critique… his voice still guides me. We honor our teachers not by copying them but sharing their enthusiasm and carrying their message. In my workshops I always talk about him. I hope and pray my actions reflect this dear man: through my paintings, how I teach and in my life.

COVID-19 has taken Jerry from us. Rest well my friend. You have earned it. 



Here's a wonderful interview with Jerry on YouTube. Joe Miller (Cheap Joe's) and Jerry were good friends. Video


  1. What a great tribute to Gerald, sorry to hear of his passing.

  2. When you lose a beloved art friend and mentor, it takes a long while for a faint smile to return to your face when you think of all the special moments you shared together. So sorry for your loss, Brenda.