Heidi Brooke marries love of bluegrass and art

Heidi Brooke is no stranger to music.

Her mother, Jennifer Brooke, is married to songwriting fiddler and band leader Mike Mitchell. Together they run the Floyd Music School in Floyd, VA, and host occasional house concerts. And Heidi, 18, often accompanies them on the road to gigs, festivals, and IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh.

So when she was assigned to paint a realistic scene for a high school art project last year, it was natural to choose a bluegrass theme for her subject. 

The painting, Music Strings Us Together, is a vibrantly colored rendition of an upright bass and banjo in front of a fireplace.

“I started the painting last year, right after IBMA,” Heidi told me at this year’s World of Bluegrass, “and I finished it right around the first of November.” This year prints of the painting were available with Mitchell’s CDs. She also sells them at his merch table at festivals.

She chose the subject from a photo taken by her mother. “Mark Schatz was in town for a house concert and my mom was walking around taking pictures. I knew it was Mark’s bass as soon as I saw it, and the light was good was good for a bigger painting. So I decided to do it.”

Heidi already knew Schatz from his stint with Nickel Creek, and because he had stayed at their house. He has seen, and loves her work. She decided to keep the original for herself, but her mom talked her into making prints. “Mom thought it was a good idea because I could learn how to sell things and get my art out there,” she said.

If you can’t catch the Mike Mitchell Band on the road, you can find information about Heidi’s print at the Mike Mitchell or Floyd Music School web sites.

Here’s hoping Heidi Brooke has other musical paintings in mind.

Heidi Brooke

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.