July 31, 2000
by Deborah Stone
This year over 1200 artist submitted 2100 entries featuring the flora, fauna and history of one of the 378 locations of the National Park System. From these entries, 200 finalists were chosen.The top 100 pieces will then be selected for a multi city exhibition tour beginning in September. A grand prize winner and twenty-two runners up will be announced on Sept. 16 at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, at the "Arts for the Parks" Gala Banquet. Among the finalists for this competition is local Woodinville resident Beverly Fotheringham, whose artwork, titled "Remembrance" from the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial location, will be viewed later this month by jury members.
Fotheringham began studying art when she was thirteen years old and continued her studies through college. She worked at Disneyland doing silhouette portraits for five years and then began an airbrush T-shirt company that went nationwide. While raising her four children, she had an in-home craft business for twenty-two years, designing and creating finger puppets. After taking several classes in watercolor painting, she found began painting in earnest.
"I would work twelve hours a day, seven days a week," says Fotheringham. "It became such a passion for me and I loved how the paint could be layered and how the colors could change with these layers. The classes helped me relearn things I had studied in college and also taught me lots of new techniques."
Her first solo exhibit was in the spring of 1997 at the Kaewyn Gallery in Bothell, followed by entries into various local and regional competitions. She has won numerous awards for her work, which she characterizes as having an abstract quality, focusing mostly on subjects in nature.
"I do lots of close ups of florals and leaves, as well as boat scenes," comments Fotheringham. "I am interested in objects with sun and light coming through and reflections of the water. The light quality is very important to me."
When Fotheringham was in Hawaii last winter, she went to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and took photo studies of it, planning to use the subject for her entry into the "Arts for the Parks" competition.
"I chose this subject because it has lots of meaning in it," explains Fotheringham. "The "Remembrance" was a ship that sank during World War II and they never recovered it. The wreckage is still under the water and they built a memorial on top of it. I wanted to convey the water and light shining through with the wreckage distorted under the water. The water is beautiful, but a tragedy lurks below. It is very bittersweet. My painting is abstract, but done realistically, too. In my work, I aim toward making something realistic, abstract."
Fotheringham felt she didn't stand a chance when she entered the contest due to the number of entries, so it came as a complete surprise to her when she was notified of her finalist status. She feels very honored by this recognition. Fotheringham has become a very prolific artist, creating about 100 paintings a year and selling approximately two-thirds of them at festivals and shows. She paints daily in her home and finds her pursuit satisfying and rewarding.
"I am so happy to have had the time to pursue my painting," says Fotheringham. "When I paint, time drops away and I get very involved in my work. It is wonderful outlet for self-expression and creativity."
Fotheringham's work will be on display at an upcoming exhibit at the Kaewyn Gallery in Bothell in September, along with work done by her daughter Brooke, a photographer.
"I make my paintings look like photos and Brooke makes her photos look like paintings," says Fotheringham. "We're a great combination!"