Frank Leonard Brooks
Frank Brooks was a war artist with the Navy during World War II.
Frank Brooks was born in England in 1911 and grew up in Toronto and North Bay, Ont. He studied at the Ontario Collegge of Art and was working as an art teacher before joining the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. He was made an official War Artist in 1944 and produced over 100 paintings, many painted during sea battles in the North Atlantic.
This painting is based on memories of his experience on board various naval vessels during the war, and reflects the admiration he felt for the naval crews and the conditions under which they served. As Leonard described, "this was a painting of men signalling another ship at night".
Frank comments, "I served with the Navy and used to go up on deck at night and sketch the patrollers. I then developed the painting in my London studio after each stint on a ship. I went on every ship I could find; corvettes, aircraft carriers, submarines: it was a wonderful experience. I was very honoured to be a war artist".
After the war, Frank and his wife Reva moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1947. They lived there for the rest of their lives. Frank gave violin and art lessons in the local town which eventually developed into an artists community . Frank painted almost every day and was still painting in the last year of his life. He died in 2012 at age 100.