By Ellen Chappelle
What inspires art? What causes an artist to pick up a brush or a hammer or a pair of pliers and create? There are a million answers to that question. Most often, it seems, art is inspired by nature, the human form or human emotion. In short, art is often said to imitate life. But this month at two Edmonds galleries, art is imitating art.
“Passion” at Cole Gallery
If you peer in the windows of Cole Gallery between now and May 18, chances are you’ll be captivated by the rich, warm beauty of the elegant paintings inside. The creator of those paintings – local pastel artist Patty Forte Linna – had the same experience when driving by couture fashion designer Luly Yang’s Seattle boutique.
“I was mesmerized by what I saw, along with every other passerby,” Linna said. “As the months went by and I continued to drive by her exquisite window displays, I was compelled to meet the designer.”
Drawn in by the beauty and passion of Yang’s award-winning designs, Linna spent countless hours in Yang’s studio, observing how the exquisite dresses transformed those who wore them. She sketched and photographed the result of Yang’s passionate creations and painted live at Yang’s 2010 Fashion Tea.
Fully inspired, Linna turned to her canvases and recreated the beauty and passion of those moments in the boutique. Over 20 paintings currently grace the walls at Cole Gallery in a show titled “Passion,” most depicting a precious moment in the life of a woman transformed by a beautiful dress.
“I love to sculpt clothing around the organic shapes of the body and see it come alive in movement, creating the ideal balance between form and function,” says Yang.
Yang’s attention to detail, sense of design and understanding of the human form are visible in her dresses – and in Linna’s paintings, too. Pastels are the perfect medium for these beautiful, intimate moments and Linna’s expertise is apparent. Soft-edged vibrant colors draw the eye, and the sense of movement and joy feed the soul. Each piece is lovelier than the last, with perfectly depicted satin and ruffles floating in the light. (And although I’m not a painter, I’m guessing that’s no easy feat!)
The show’s opening gala on April 9 drew a packed house, buzzing with patrons oohing and ahhing over every painting. Two of Yang’s gorgeous dresses adorned the front window, further illustrating how beautifully Linna had captured them on canvas.
If you want to own a Linna original of your own, there’s still time to participate in a drawing that Cole Gallery will hold during the Edmonds Art Walk on May 19. Linna is donating a painting titled “Romantic Interlude,” which is now showing at the gallery. All proceeds will go to Art with Heart, a local nonprofit organization that helps children in crisis through creativity. Their mission is “to improve the lives of high-risk youth with therapeutic tools and programs that promote mental health and well-being.”
Raffle tickets can be purchased at Cole Gallery until May 19 for $10 each or 3 for $25. You do not need to be present to win. (Note: Tickets must be purchased with cash or checks; Cole Gallery can’t accept credit cards for the raffle.)
“Faux Art Show” at Gallery North
Calling their “Faux Art Show” a celebration of impersonation, the artists of Gallery North replicated the style and techniques of famous artisans in creating their own pieces.
If you like Degas, Monet, Pollack, O’Keefe and more, you’ll enjoy the fun our local artists had as they took on the spirit of their own favorites. Some mirrored the original very closely in style, technique and subject, while others appeared to be merely inspired by the original artist, using one element as a springboard for their own designs. Regardless of how closely they followed their inspiration, the artists clearly enjoyed folding something different into their work. One jewelry artist even stepped out from behind the bench to paint!
This little show has something for everyone, whether you like colorful, modern or impressionistic art. Don’t wait to stop by – the show only runs through the end of April.
And if you, like these artists, are inspired by something you see, why not go home and create a little art yourself? Perhaps you, too, will be featured in a gallery someday. At the very least, you’ll surely revel in the joy of creation!
Please keep her posted about all things artistic in Edmonds by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Chappelle covers the local arts scene for My Edmonds News. She brings a life-long interest in the arts and many years of writing experience to the task, detailing upcoming performances, local art events and stories of Edmonds artists. A theatre and journalism major, she has toured with a professional theatre company and performed on a cruise ship. She has also served as the Pacific Northwest Regional Editor of Dog Magazine and the Seattle Dogs Examiner for Examiner.com. Since then, Ellen has been busy writing and editing for artists and small businesses, publishing an informational site for dog owners and creating handcrafted jewelry.