The Art of Determination
Making art, teaching art, talking about art energizes and motivates Katie Fogg of Waterford, a young emerging artist who graduated from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts this past spring.
When she received the Stobart Foundation award upon graduation, Fogg said it reinforced for her that she was on the right path-even if, as she points out, the roads in her landscape paintings appear to be leading nowhere.
Established in 1988 by preeminent national maritime artist John Stobart, the Stobart award is offered to young artists who aspire to establish themselves professionally by painting directly from nature: portrait, landscape, or still life.
Among Fogg's submissions for the award were works painted en plein air in locations such as Tiffany Farm in Old Lyme and Seaside Regional Center in Waterford.
When she heard her name announced at graduation as the winner of the award, Fogg says, "I was really surprised and so excited. I knew I would take advantage of it. It's such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Fogg plans to use the $5,000 grant for art supplies, further education, and to cover rent on her new art studio on State Street in New London.
Fogg isn't one of those artists who started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil. It wasn't until her junior year at Waterford High School that she got serious about painting.
"I was leaning more toward fashion," Fogg says. "But I was always in the art room and my teachers pushed me (toward painting). They let me do my own thing, instead of giving me classroom assignments. In the end, I did a lot more work than anybody else."
Fogg's teachers told her about Lyme Academy College and it ended up being the only school to which she applied.
"I liked how small and one-on-one it is with students," she says. "What I learned that first week changed everything. I was introduced to figurative work and learned the actual foundation for painting. My work blossomed. It changed totally. My passion for art grew more and more each year. I didn't expect it at all."
Fogg sold five paintings at the Lyme Academy College's 2010 BFA Senior Exhibition and with a hint of amazement in her voice, she says, "I ended up becoming the artist I didn't think I was going to be. Now I have my own studio and I'm painting all the time."
Although Fogg didn't pursue a career in fashion design as originally planned, her artwork is heavily influenced by her passion for fashion. In her new series, "Find and Focus," she paints a clothed female in the landscape, making a connection, she says, between women and the land itself.
"The whole concept began with one of the main pieces in my senior thesis, 'Naree-pol,' which in Thai means 'woman tree,'" she says.
"The perspective and the positioning of her body and her stance are all to make sure your eye goes to her and her surroundings so she's just as important as the landscape," Fogg explains.
Fogg predominantly paints in oil on panel.
"It's so smooth and slick on top of the wood; I love the feeling of it," she says. "The way I work in my studio is on multiple pieces at a time, adding layers on the panel as each one dries."
She is hesitant to label her work, but describes her distinctive style-incorporating lots of brushwork and symbolism and a modern day figure-as contemporary impressionism, especially in her use of colors.
"I always want to make sure I have a new challenge," Fogg says of her painting. "Without that it wouldn't be as much fun."
Fogg plans to get her master's degree so she can teach art and is currently applying to schools.
She completed a paid internship as an assistant art teacher at both Clark Lane Middle School and Waterford High School during her four years in college and says that's when she discovered that she wanted to pursue teaching, specifically high school students.
"I went through a lot of hard stuff growing up and so I think I can relate to high school kids," she says. "I'd like to make some sort of difference in the art department. I'd like the students to enjoy their time in the classroom and have fun. Hopefully, I'll end up teaching and making that difference."
Meanwhile, Fogg says she's focused on getting her work out there and getting into area shows, hopefully by the end of the year.
"I'm really excited," she says. "I have so many things planned-I have new tools and everything-I just need to start getting it done and put my award into use."
To view more of Katie Fogg's artwork, visit her website, www.katiefogg.weebly.com.