Subscribe now to receive news about Painting Bolinas by e-mail, and receive an mp3 of the film’s theme song.
Arthur (Peter Lee) Brownlee died peacefully on December 1, 2011 in Point Reyes, California. He was 91 yrs. old.
The Painting Bolinas movie is a documentary about a 90 yr old artist, Peter Lee Brownlee whose lifestyle mirrors a king in a court of chaos and imagination. Peter is known as the “cake decorator” because of his massive layering technique, creating rich textures, his paintings are of urban and rural downtowns and famous landmarks all across America. In an earlier time, one of his paintings was on the cover of “New York Living” and he donated paintings to help Yoko Ono raise funds for the Strawberry Fields John Lennon Memorial.
His court includes an eccentric collection of people who have lost their dreams and found their way to Bolinas, California, a magical village that seems to teeter between the edge of the world and the edge of the Pacific; a haunt not unlike a Steinbeck novel. It serves as the living backdrop for a film about a brilliant artist, the aging process, a woman who wants to save his paintings from ruination and the zany characters that choose to live out their lives with him.
A lesson in socio-anthropology; it is a study that focuses on contemporary human beings in social groups. Granted it is rather unorthodox, but it still reflects the underlying logics of social behavior. It is a story of love on many levels. The protagonist discusses how he sees his place as a house of refuge where he allows anyone who needs a place to stay, to do so. He doesn’t know how many people live with him and he doesn’t care. He has a dear relationship with his Butler even though he says he hates him. His Butler still continues to serve him taking off his shoes and heating up his food after being verbally abused several times. Additionally, viewing all the different ethnic and economic status’ of these groups and how they interact in this very small isolated California coastal town (that has remained unchanged for years) is a socio-anthropological study of its own.
Four years in the making, this documentary attempts to bring light to musicians, artists, philosophers, and intellectuals including those populations who are largely ignored. For these beloved denizens of Bolinas, California, they seem to always find themselves at a juncture balancing their ranking and inner turmoil in society with their quest for freedom. Illustrating a celebration of the human spirit, you cannot ignore the essence of the unique and genuine relationships this extraordinary fine art painter has with everyone in town and beyond.
Unlike anything you have ever seen before; Painting Bolinas takes you on an unforgettable journey into the life of a man true to his art to the very end. Peter Lee Brownlee, with the bravado of a Hemingway and the sensibility of a Picasso living in a setting of characters that could have been lifted from a Steinbeck novel will paint his way into your heart. In the latter years of his life, he proves that his spirit and creativity still sparkles like a child.
“The depiction of this beautiful, seaside town interpreted by this special artist is stunning. A unique style, an artist who is not afraid to use that color palette that reflects his optimistic, appreciative life in this town. I just loved the paintings as I am from a fishing family.”
~ Sandy Brazas Keese, Rochester, Massachusetts