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Island Expressions – Viki Brown

Viki BrownSt. John artist Viki Brown takes her inspiration from the beach, from island’s natural beauty and from her dreams and those of others.

"I have a fascination for shamanic dreams," she said.

In some of paintings she applyies several layers of oils, then scrapes off some so what’s underneath shows through.

"It gives three or four different dimensions," she said.

She’s taken her interest in art a step further by holding workshops that incorporate art with yoga, dancing and healing. Brown is filling the niche left by the departure of Omega Institute, which spent many years holding seminars at Maho Bay Camps. According to Brown, Omega built its own seminar facility in Costa Rica.

Brown worked for Omega for 15 years, organizing local workshops and teaching classes.

She developed her interest in art as a child growing up in Orlando, Fla. Her father was a photographer and her mother’s work in painting his black and white photographs fascinated her. Her Chinese grandfather provided watercolor lessons in exchange for Brown’s promise to learn Chinese.

Born in the Chicago area, Brown grew up in Orlando, where she continued her interest in art throughout her elementary and high school years. After graduation, she went to work at Disney World as a tour guide. Brown said that Disney paid her college tuition while she worked, so she got a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Central Florida.

She later studied at the Art Students League in New York.

And her interest in art led to a job as a Disney World artist. She said this involved working on the street corners at Disney World to paint portraits of people visiting the theme park.

"I learned how to do them in 30 minutes," she said.

Meanwhile, she and a boyfriend decided to sail around the world. They bought a boat, planning to sail to the Virgin Islands. They got to the Bahamas and, though the relationship dissolved, Brown was hooked on sailing and eventually sailed down on another boat. That was 30 years ago.

Once in the Virgin Islands, she captained crewed charter boats, worked in maintenance at Maho Bay Camps and sold her paintings while chartering and at various galleries.

Over the years, she’s done murals, backdrops for Epiphany Theater Co. and other commercial jobs.

Brown, now in her 50s, sells her art as well as cards and prints through her website and at Colombo Yogurt Stand, owned by her husband of 20 years, Jay Goldman.

They are the parents of Nikki Goldman, who Brown said is also an artist.

Readers can see Brown’s art online at www.vikibrown.com, learn more about the workshops at www.zemicaribbeanworkshops.com, or send her e-mail at vikibrown2@yahoo.com.

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