Artist Zaria Forman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., acquired a love for traveling as a child. Her mother, fine art photographer Rena Bass Forman (1954-2011), visited landscapes across the western United States and later in remote regions of the world, such as Patagonia and the Arctic, to capture her images. As a young girl, Forman helped her mother during the family’s summer trips by carrying equipment, but later, she began to offer her own artistic opinion. “I suggested compositions and even took photographs with her camera when she let me,” Forman says. “It was wonderful to learn from her, to develop my own artistic eye, and most importantly, to fall in love with remote landscapes.”
In 2008, after earning a degree in fine arts and embarking on her own career as a professional artist, Forman joined her mother on an expedition to Svalbard, a remote Norwegian archipelago that’s home to polar bears, reindeer and Arctic foxes. Her mother carried flag
No. 19 on the trip for WINGS WorldQuest, Inc., an organization that supports and celebrates extraordinary women explorers.
The scenery proved just as compelling to Forman as it was to her mother, and she returned to Svalbard in 2010. There she concentrated on drawing and sought to capture the extraordinary light effects, the cloudy skies, and the dark, mysterious waters. “Dark clouds and dull light hovered almost every day,” the artist recalls. “Finally, there was a moment when the sun broke through. It was emotionally uplifting—like a moment of revelation and euphoria. Deeply felt experiences like this come out in my work, whether I try or not. It’s inevitable. I like to think of it as the human element—the quality that makes it worthwhile to make the drawing as opposed to simply enlarging a photograph.”
To read the entire article, including tips advice for working in large format (Forman’s pastel works are as large as 4×5 feet), check out the June issue of Pastel Journal on sale here. Meanwhile, enjoy these examples of the articles pastel depictions of some epic landscapes:
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