Two young artists, both with exceptional talents far beyond their years, will be the featured artists this month at the Camas Gallery.
A reception for Carly Pinch, 14, a Liberty Middle School eighth-grader, and Tara Hansen, 11, a Grass Valley Middle School fifth-grader, will be held during First Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Both girls have been drawing for several years, and have had their work featured in and won awards at the Camtown Youth Festival’s Forgey Art Show in June, as well as the Creating Fine HeARTS event in May the Jack, Will and Rob Boys and Girls Club in Camas.
While their passion for art is rooted in similar places, the girls’ styles couldn’t be more different.
Pinch primarily works in chalk pastels, which is the medium she used to create “Baby Swan,” a drawing that took home top prizes at both Camas shows earlier this year.
Her parents, Kathy and Brian Pinch, remember the first drawings she created as a little girl.
“She would just draw a lot,” Kathy Pinch said. “We would be in church and I would be taking notes on one side of my notebook, and she would be drawing on the other.
“It was kid stuff at first, and then she started drawing wolves and other animals,” she said. “It got to the point where we started to think, yeah, she’s talented at this. We wanted to give her some direction. We thought we’d try art lessons for a month, and she hasn’t stopped.”
Pinch admits, however, that her first class nearly four years ago didn’t go all that well.
“I hated the first lesson, because it was boring,” she said. “But then the next week I got to draw a puppy. I liked it a lot more, and haven’t hated it since.”
Pinch still favors drawing animals, highlighting their intricate details. She is inspired by photographs she has taken herself, or found on the internet or through other sources.
“She took a photograph of my brother’s calf, from the day it was born,” Kathy Pinch said. “She took that and did a chalk pastel that just turned out beautiful. That was the first thing she made that we thought, ‘This should be framed. This is really good.'”
While the original hangs in her uncle’s home, a print of that drawing will be featured at the Camas Gallery show.
Although Hansen just recently turned 11, her demeanor and presence project a person who is several years older.
Her recent black and white pencil drawings have focused on recreating the work of classical artists, such as Michelangelo.
“I am drawing from the masters and I am tweaking them a little bit to make them my own,” Hansen said. “It’s fun to see what kind of emotion you can make out of their face and their body.”
Hansen, who started drawing sketches in preschool, comes from a family of artists, including her mother, Jane de Forest and cousin, Autumn de Forest of Las Vegas.
“I have been drawing all of my life, but I really had a breakthrough when I saw my cousin’s artwork,” Hansen said. “I saw how great she could be at such a young age, and it really inspired me.”
Autumn De Forest, now 14, began painting at the age of 6. Her artwork is internationally recognized, and has been featured in exhibits and in private collections around the world.
Camas Gallery co-owner Marquita Call first came across the artwork of Pinch and Hansen when she was a judge at the Forgey Art Show. She describes them both as artistic “prodigies.”
“Carly is incredible in her different styles of artwork,” Call said. “It is absolutely stunning and it is unbelievable that someone her age is producing the artwork she is, the likes of which I have not seen.
“Tara has been so amazing,” Call added. “People have come in and looked at her artwork, and when I say she is 10 years old, they don’t believe it. She has a classic style — old world almost.”
Hansen will be selling her original pieces at the show, the proceeds from which will go to support a trip her sister, Sophia, is taking during spring break.
The 14-year-old will travel with a group of 20 other Camas High School students to Nicaragua, where they will work with the organization Courts for Kids. The non-profit leads efforts to build sport courts for youth in economically disadvantaged areas around the world.
Tara hopes to one day use her artistic talents to make a positive impact on youth who need it most.
“My dream is to travel the world to teach kids art, where there are no art programs.”