By Deb Everts
Local artist Barbara Fox recently received a purchase award from the Art Renewal Center (ARC) at this year’s International ARC Salon Exhibition.
Her artwork will be on public display at the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art) in Barcelona, Spain, along with 98 other artists’ works from around the globe.
The show opened at the MEAM in Barcelona Dec. 6 and will continue through Feb. 2 before it returns to Sotheby’s in New York City where it will be on exhibit from July 17-27.
Fox said she was honored to receive such a prestigious award. She said her detailed, 10-by-21-inch charcoal and pastel drawing “Parting with Illusions” was purchased by ARC for $3,800 and is now in their collection.
“I’m really honored because this is one of the top exhibits of realistic artwork. I paint very realistically, but I’ve never really put myself in that realm of ‘hyper-realist’ artists,” she said. “I want to paint and draw in realism, but also have a beautiful image that people recognize as a realistic piece of art, rather than people wondering if it’s a photograph or a painting.”
This is not her first international competition. Fox said she has participated in a number of them, but this particular competition is pretty special because they not only accept artwork from around the world, but they also present exhibits all over the world.
According to Fox, she enters a lot of competitions throughout the year in mediums ranging from watercolor and oil painting to pastels and charcoal drawing. She said there are not many competitions for drawing that she knows of, but when she discovered ARC had a category for drawing, she entered her charcoal and pastel artwork in the drawing category.
She said the focus of the Art Renewal Center is “realistic” artwork, so they are looking at not just the creativity in the image, but also the artist’s technical ability in painting, drawing or sculpting in realistic artwork.
The drawing that won Fox the purchase award was that of Quincey, a young woman from Ellicottville who agreed to model for her. Fox, who has known this young woman since she was a little girl, said she had an idea for the drawing.
“We agreed to meet at her grandparent’s pond, but it happened to be a very cold day in May 2018,” she said. “I thought, ‘There’s no way she’s going to get in that water.’”
To Fox’s surprise, Quincey was brave enough to get into the cold pond. Then she took lots of photographs of the young woman in different poses in the water. Fox said she’s done quite a few drawings and paintings of her just from that one photography session.
She said one pose, in particular, stood out among the rest.
“What I originally had in mind was not what really struck me when I looked at my photographs afterwards,” she said. “That photograph of her just looking in the water with her hair coming down was something I thought would be a really beautiful drawing.”
ACCORDING TO Fox, she didn’t start working on the actual drawing until about a year ago. She worked on it for about three months during December 2018 and January and February 2019, along with her other artwork.
“It was difficult working with charcoal and pastel to create a drawing so realistic,” she said. “I always thought drawings would go quicker than paintings, but to do this particular drawing took a really long time. Every square-inch demanded the same amount of attention. After I finished the drawing, I thought it was pretty good so I entered it in the ARC competition.”
When asked how she could part with such a beautiful and breathtaking piece of artwork, Fox’s response was, “Truthfully, when something leaves my studio, it’s not really mine anymore and I’m on to the next piece. I’m always working on something new, and whatever I’m working on is a special thing.”
Fox works as a fine artist and illustrator from both her Mill Street studio, in Ellicottville, and her home studio, in the Little Valley area, where she resides with her husband, Bob Brachmann. A member of the Tri-County Arts Council, she’s also a master designer for the United States Mint and has been part of its “artistic infusion program” since 2007.
Anyone interested in visiting Fox’s Ellicottville art studio should call 699-4145 or email her at email@example.com for an appointment. To see more of Fox’s fine art, visit her website at bfoxfineart.com.
ARC is the largest online museum dedicated solely to realist works of art. The non-profit, educational organization is one of the internet’s leading art resources. ARC also runs the ARC Salon Competition, which is the largest and most prestigious competition in the world for realist artists. To find out more about ARC and its competitions, visit online at artrenewal.org.