Colleen Hansen Bradford is one of Brigham City’s favorite local artists and is known for her paintings of the city’s most beautiful and memorable buildings. Her paintings have helped preserve the memory of many buildings which are no longer standing.
Colleen was born in Logan, Utah, but has lived in Brigham City since she was 8 years old. She started drawing at age three when her mother provided paper and pencils to keep her busy. She attended Box Elder High School, studying art there and graduating in the class of 1952.
After a brief delay starting a family, Collen resumed her art at the age of 33 and worked on perfecting her watercolor technique. At age 50 she invaded the art department at Utah State University and studied anatomy and life drawing with Professor Adrian Van Suchtelen and Joseph Mugnaini.
Colleen also studied under Dan Baxter, attended portrait workshops in Salt Lake City, and was taught by Daniel Greene, one of the best portrait painters of our day.
Her favorite subjects to paint are buildings and people. In the 1900’s she joined Images Art Gallery, an artist co-op in Brigham City, and began painting “Portraits of Brigham City” as portrait commissions of people were not plentiful. The buildings she painted were places she remembered from childhood and were either threatened, endangered, or about to be demolished.
Colleen’s art has been displayed in several Utah galleries, including the Eccles Art Center in Ogden, the Tippets Gallery at USU, the Kimball Art Center in Park City, and the Brigham City Art and History Museum. She has been honored at national art shows in Mesa, Arizona, Mendocino and Brea, California, and Rochester, New York. Three traveling shows, the AAUW, the Utah Watercolor Society, and “Windows” have also displayed her work.
In her travels to Europe, including Italy, Switzerland, France, Turkey, and England she was impressed by the lands and people and found many interesting subjects to paint. Her exhibit “Traveling Painting” was on display at the Brigham City Art & History Museum.
Colleen has devoted many years of volunteer service, teaching painting at the Senior Center, local schools, and theaters. She has shared her gift with many and continues to do so even at the age of 81, in spite of significant health challenges. When ask how she is doing, her response is “I’m still painting – so I’m doing well!”
She is married to Jack E. Bradford and they have 3 daughters and 2 sons, all of whom have inherited a measure of her artistic talent.
Colleen now serves as the honorary chair of the Historic Downtown Brigham City Merchants Association, whose mission is to revitalize historic downtown and make it a year round destination. Profits from the sale of her artwork are being donated to the Association in an effort to transform her beloved Brigham City.