Brooke Holiday is a bit of a creative chameleon. The Melbourne-based artist has degrees in fine art and arts management, and spent her 20s working in the fashion industry across design, costuming and production.
But painting was always her primary focus, until a lecturer in university told her she ‘couldn’t paint’.
‘I didn’t make any work for a great deal of time after that, and it affected my sense of self-belief in my ability as artist,’ Brooke says. Then in 2020, she found herself with more free time than ever, and a newfound nostalgia for shared moments with friends and family.
‘This sparked a desire to capture the beauty of those moments (so often shared across a dinner table) before they are resigned to memory,’ Brooke explains.
Since then, Brooke’s return to painting over the last three years has been an era of ‘personal renaissance’. And her ethereal pieces are a triumphant reflection of that. Now she juggles the rewarding, but ‘chaotic dance’, of teaching art at local schools and her job as a Pilates instructor, along with working two days a week in her home studio.
‘My home provides the perfect stage for setting my paintings which, can often feel like an exercise in extravagance,’ Brooke adds.
Brooke’s process itself is equal parts indulgent and sustainable. It normally starts with thrifting a vintage frame for the painting, before visiting the local market for some seasonal produce, looking for anything that is ‘visually interesting, and exciting to contemplate consuming later’.
Naturally, there’s a bit of styling, photographing, and plenty of painting, but the final component ‘is always a feast of the subject matter shared with loved ones’ that brings her work full circle.
It’s this intimate moment that helps shape the ‘mood’ of the final piece, carried by dreamy pastel tones and layered brushstrokes, freezing these memories in time. And they’re positively beautiful!