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San Clemente Journal

Just Bree, An Artist in the Making

Sep 03, 2019 10:19AM ● By Shelle Sandberg

Bree in her Old City Plaza studio.

by Shelle Sandberg

There’s a girl who grew up in the late 1990s, in a little beach town often referred to as, The Spanish Village by the Sea. She loves the beach, has many hobbies, and even more people who adore her. Her name is Bree. She started her art career at the age of five or six, and it was her grandfather who taught her how to surf at age seven.

Her mother paints in oils, and Bree was always beside her, learning acrylics and eventually graduating to oils. Her focus shifted to graphic design when she attended a small college on the North Shore of Oahu. During her senior year she acquired a drone and began photographing the ocean from above, determined to paint it! 

Bree in front of her display at the Festival of Arts.

 “Just Bree,” was a way that she started telling her story through photos on Instagram toward the end of 2011. Almost five years later, in 2015, she began exploring drone photography which has morphed into her current artwork. Now she’s known as, “Just Bree,” the artist. 

 She relishes her morning coffee while planning her day, then meditates. The adventure begins on an electric bike ride with her husband, Bobby Poort. Next, an epic surf session... glassy waves with no crowds! Grabbing some morning breakfast, she stops at the paint studio then sneaks a power nap before heading to the Festival of the Arts. She enjoys each evening where she appreciates those crowds who love art … that’s her perfect day!  

Bree Poort knew she couldn’t show the movement of the ocean she so desperately wanted to capture while exclusively using oils. She began experimenting with many different art forms; acrylics with water, oils, and resin, which she had experienced repairing surfboards. Playing with these mediums, resin proved the most difficult… turning yellow or failing to dry.  Finally, she was able to hone in on this particular technique after a studious and patient eight months.
She likes to move organically with her art career, not forcing its movement forward. When applying to show in the Festival of the Arts, she had no expectations. Receiving a People’s Choice Award Sunday, July 7th, she is the youngest exhibitor. It’s quite an honor for any artist, especially in one’s first year! 

Bree is incredibly proud of her husband for being her ... “‘grounding rock,’ one that I get to have by my side. I have this overwhelming love for him. He’s the level-headed perspective that gave me life in every aspect, not just the art.” 

She met Bobby in Hawaii and they’ve been married almost five years. She refers to him as her, “artist/partner-in-crime,” and says he’s also extremely creative. At this point she entertains the thought of children, knowing the financial aspect is now imaginable.

Bree’s goal every year is traveling to a different country, staying in a hotel to paint an original piece for them while enjoying the location and learning about their unique culture. The colors she’s currently feeling are the royal blue and whites of Greece, suggesting that may be the next stop on her world canvas.  

The couple dream of having a home, studio, and gallery. The goal is to live above the studio, the gallery located in the front, their young family able to beach and surf every day, with a splash of international travel whenever possible.  She says it’s a dream that’s years off. But exhibiting at the 2019 Festival was also a far off dream … and she’s living that dream all summer, right now! 
Bree’s first inspirational icon was her mom. Seeing her mother’s pure love of painting has been instilled in her. Not only is it in her DNA, but it’s also nestled in her heart and soul. 
She adds, “next to mom would be Da Vinci, if not all the Renaissance men. They tapped into capabilities we don’t tap into. I love what I do… but not for the rest of my life. I want to explore everything I’m capable of, because there are people in the past that have done that, and it’s inspiring to see people who really push the boundaries of life, expression and love.”
Bree acknowledges she struggles with depression and anxiety, and when overwhelmed she feels it most. Initially these emotions surprised her as they intruded at the peak of her new career. It led to a deep depression lasting five months. She shared that she was incapable of smiling, surfing, or sometimes even going outside. This shocked her.  It seemed she, “had everything she had ever wanted.” 

The one thing she did every day was paint… and her passion and immersion in this art pulled her through. This artistic discovery and her unique self direction allow her to live in the moment and find her happiness.

Bree openly shared the lesson she learned: “There’s always light, and that light is probably something that you do every day. And you just have to keep doing it even if you don’t want to, ‘cause it’ll pull you through.”

Studio: JUST BREE ART 111 Avenida Palizada, San Clemente