The master has left us but the masterclass remains…

By FRANK WHALLEY

Old soldiers never die and neither do fine artists.

They live to excite, shock, delight and educate us through their work.

And my fellow artist Timothy Brooke was among the finest of fine artists.

A part of him may have passed away last week at the age of 80, but his paintings and drawings will continue to smack and sing on walls around the world.

Brooke was arguably the most technically accomplished painter in the region; his unparalleled mastery of line and form, tone and mass, light and color.

Born in England, he came to Kenya, aged three, shortly after World War II and later returned to the UK for his studies, refining his night drawing at St Martin’s School of Art in London and later to nearby Farnham, where he concentrated on drawing from life, the basis of an artist’s skill, before returning to Kenya.

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Living in Nanyuki, he often passed Mount Kenya – one of his favorite subjects – and then north into the deserts with their nomads herding cattle, goats and camels, well women and abundant wildlife.

Preserve that, every painting seems to say.

Brooke showed them, filled with lush, beautiful color applied with a broad, reek of classy brush, at the One Off Gallery in Rosslyn, Nairobi, which is now planning a commemorative exhibition.

Lately his work has become more reductive and closer to creating his own points of reference; consistent in itself, beyond the changing realities it set out to project.

Brooke leaves a beloved family lost in grief.

But his wife Jill and daughters Abigail and Rebecca should know that Brooke is with us forever through her thousands of paintings and drawings – which will continue to delight and be treasured by generations to come.

And for today’s young artists, a masterclass on the wall.

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