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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. 


Love,

Brenda


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

12 comments:

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

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  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.

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  3. Oh I am so sorry to hear Jerry is gone! I had read his books and heard about him for years...and signed up to take a class from him here in Florida about 3 years ago. It was a delight. I still have many of his handouts about composition taped around the studio and I bought one of his books. I think each of us looks back to the artists who have nurtured us along the way. My first wc teacher, Pauline, is gone now too and I always feel that my work needs to somehow pay tribute to that wonderful beginning. Thanks for sharing your stories of Jerry with us and reminding us that the people who share their talents with us, their encouragement, their passion are then a part of our legacy to others. You have always been a huge inspiration to me Brenda and when I took your class at Dillmans's a number of years ago it fulfilled a dream. thank you for your teaching too.

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    1. Ginny,
      hank you for the kind word. It's a challenging year...in so may ways.
      Stay well and creative,
      Brenda

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  4. Hi Brenda! What a wonderful tribute to a great man! Jerry is up there painting in the stars and the heavens. We lost at great one last month. Thanks for sharing your story and the Cheap Joe’s video! We will cherish all of his teachings forever! All my best, Monica

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    1. Monica,
      He was a great man and no doubt he has found a place in heaven.
      ❤️Brenda

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  5. Wow. Cant believe he's gone. Somehow it seemed he would go on forever. A dear man and magnificent teacher. Thank you for the post.

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    1. Kathie,
      So glad you had a chance to know him.
      ❤️Brenda

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  6. I love your tribute to this wonderful man who loved God, loved art, and who was an incredible mentor for you. I think it is so amazing how God arranges our life story with the blessings of such special talented people who are just right for mentoring us. He was one who was just right for mentoring you and what is such a blessing for me is how you have honored him. Having a great teacher who leads us well is a rarity these days. I have some in my own life who were sent my way at just the right time to mentor me so I could do what God has called me to and I will, like you, be forever grateful. Blessings to you Brenda! I think you are amazing!

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  7. Cath,
    Thank you dear lady. It’s clear to see you have been mentored along the way. Those of us who have been given this gift clearly see it is more than teaching but actually passing the torch. It’s our responsibility and honor to do so in return.
    Thank you for your words. They have deeply touched my heart.❤️
    Brenda

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