Steve and Calisse Browne’s copper art is “painted” using a propane torch flame. As the flame from the torch heats the metal, up to 14 colors, from bright yellow and green to bold blue, purples, and browns, can be oxidized out of the copper. This process requires patience and a willingness to adjust their vision for the piece as the air’s temperature and humidity affects the way the copper reacts to the flame. Flame painted art is a negotiation between the artist and the copper. Once a design is flame drawn and color is oxidized out of the copper, the color can be ground off, revealing the natural copper color and enhancing the design.
Steve and Calisse Browne started their “flame painting” by creating flame painted copper jewelry. Their interest in creating larger wall art pieces caused them to experiment with various torches and techniques to transfer the process used on jewelry to larger copper wall pieces. Fire painting larger wall art pieces requires multiple steps. While some steps can be prepared in advance of the piece’s fire painting, the majority of them must be completed in succession, requiring patience and perseverance to create the vibrant, one-of-a-kind piece of art. The couple works together, collaborating on each of the art pieces.
The couple is very fortunate in that they work well together and complement each other’s abilities. Every piece is touched by both artists. Yet, both can independently perform every component of the fire painting process. They brainstorm each piece and through discussion and experimentation they push their understanding of working with copper to grow their art. There is much satisfaction from collaborating on each piece.
Their biggest satisfaction comes from watching others enjoy their art. Creating art that speaks to someone on an emotional level helps that person to remember where they were and who they were with when they first saw the piece. That is what art is all about for the Brownes.