Munch and Learn Recap: March 18 by Linley Schmidt

Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.  Especially when one has the fun job (And I’m not being sarcastic. It really is fun!) of finding interesting speakers for the weekly Munch and Learn Series. Every now and then, something goes wrong, and a speaker cannot come. After that initial moment of panic, I usually turn to my coworkers to save me. Several people stepped up just 6 days before the March 18 program and offered to do the talk. I decided to go with the Dixon’s Student Program Coordinator and artist, Erica McCarrens.  And she did not disappoint!  I asked her to do a painting demonstration in which she would recreate a painting from Hail, Britannia! Six Centuries of British Art from the Berger Collection in her own style.   


Self-portrait with 2 Foxes and Lucy by Erica McCarrens

Erica’s painting style is the familiar, mixed with a dose of fantasy, with a touch of magic, and a smidge of the brothers Grimm. In other words, her style is very different from the paintings in the exhibition.  She chose the fabulously coiffed Queen Charlotte, painted by Benjamin West in 1776, to base her painting off of. Erica set up her easel, canvas, and paints, and demonstrated her painting technique, which involves a lot of smudging and wiping of paint with details and bold lines added later. She talked to the audience as she worked about her palette and her thought process as the painting took shape.  She didn’t finish the painting in the hour allotted for the talk like she had hoped.  However, amazing progress was made, and the painting will be completed soon.   


Benjamin West (1738–1820) Queen Charlotte, ca. 1776 Oil on canvas 50 x 40¼ in. (127 x 102.2 cm) The Berger Collection at the Denver Art Museum, TL-19057

and Erica's rendering of Queen Charlotte.

Everyone loved getting insight into a painter’s mind during the creative process.  If you’re a fan of Queen Charlotte in Erica McCarren’s ethereal style, you have the chance to own the painting! Come to Art on Fire 2015 on October 24 and bid on the painting at the silent auction! 

Posted by Chantal Drake at 2:50 PM
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