Pigments, Perspectives, and Pandas || Pssst. Can I interest You in A Vermeer?

Posted in Blogs, Visual Art

This weekend marks the fifth year of Forgeries@Froggwell and, in my not-so-humble opinion, it’s going to be a doozy of a show. What began as sort of a visual bón mót has grown to be a much-anticipated biannual event.

From small, quiet sketches to all-out virtuoso feats of painterly brilliance, this show has something for everyone. The exhibition features more than 30 artists, with works ranging from Ernest H. Shepard’s sketches for “The House at Pooh Corner,” to Vermeer’s “Woman in a Red Hat” and a Francis Bacon self-portrait.

From “The House at Pooh Corner” by Anne Belov after E H Shepard; pencil on paper

The question of “why” always comes up when I talk about the show. One answer is that it’s a whole lot of fun, not to mention a challenge. I can’t answer for every artist in the show, but for me, it boils down to a couple of things: I think that visual artists learn by looking rather than reading about how to do something. Trying to replicate what they see visually requires lots of trial and error, decision-making, and experimentation.

Self-portrait by Bruce Morrow after Francis Bacon; oil on canvas

One might ask, where is the challenge of copying something that another artist has done, something that already exists. I say, go ahead and try it, then get back to me about how easy you thought that was. (Hint: It’s not.) You have to try to enter into another artist’s mind: How did they mix that color? What kind of brush did they use? How did they make that line? Is that color achieved by layering or mixing? What decisions did they make to achieve that mood?

Portait of Berthe Morisot by David Maclean after Edouard Manet; Oil on canvas

For centuries, artist training was a process of apprenticeships and making master copies. You trained your eye as well as your hand to translate what you saw onto the canvas. You learned color theory and how to work with specific materials in a way that transcends those materials. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

You won’t want to miss this year’s show. It celebrates the diversity of artistic expression as well as the varied influences that have inspired, instructed, and excited the participating artists. It may give you added insights as you view this year’s exhibition and think about each artist’s own original works.

Not to mention that Froggwell Garden is a much more convenient excursion than heading to The Louvre or The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year’s show will be held at Froggwell Garden, 5508 Double Bluff Road in Freeland; Friday through Sunday; August 4, 5, and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is limited, so please carpool if possible.

All illustrations are courtesy of the artists participating in Forgeries@Froggwell 2017.

Anne Belov lives and works on Whidbey Island in an undisclosed location. Her paintings can be seen at The Rob Schouten Gallery in Langley and at The Fountainhead Gallery on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. You can find her peculiarly political panda satire at Your Brain on Pandas, and her books at Moonraker Books in Langley or on Amazon. Feel free to follow on Twitter where she is @pandachronicle and visit The Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire on Facebook. Her latest collection of panda satire. The Panda Chronicles Book 7: Don’t Call Mee Boo Boo, has just been released

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