Patricia Tobacco Forrester (1940-2011)
Biography

A Massachusetts native, Patricia Tobacco Forrester (born 1940) received her B.A. from Smith College (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1962 and her B.F.A. in 1963 and M.F.A. in 1965, both from Yale University. She was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1967. The artist's critically acclaimed watercolors are painted directly from nature, often on very large scale sheets of up to 40 x 60" paper. Her subject matter is primarily trees and flowers against a dramatic landscape vista, painted with an intuitive, lush, expressive sensibility.
The artist travels to exotic locales many months of the year, though her home base has been Washington, DC, since 1982. From the mid-sixties to 1981 she lived in San Francisco and she often returns to the region to paint the rocky coast of Santa Barbara or the rolling vineyards of the Napa Valley. She spends her winters painting in warmer climes, often island hopping in the Caribbean and traveling throughout Central and South America, as well as occasional sojourns in France and the Mediterranean.
Forrester accepted the invitation to become a member of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1992. Her work has been shown widely in hundreds of museum and gallery exhibitions across the United States and abroad for over thirty-five years. Numerous major museums own her paintings and prints, including the Art Institute of Chicago, British Museum, London, Brooklyn Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Library of Congress, National Academy of Design, Oakland Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and The White House, Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.
Steven Scott Gallery has been honored to represent the artist since its opening in 1988. Solo shows of Forrester's watercolors and lithographs were mounted in 1992, 1997 and 2005. A color brochure is available upon request. Forrester is the recipient of a 2005 Artist Grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities.

Upon the artist's death in March 2011, Forrester bequeathed the remaining major watercolors in her estate to seven major museums across the United States. She chose these museums since they featured her work often during her lifetime in major exhibitions. The selected museums are:

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (now transferred to
the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY
Denver Art Museum, CO
Oakland Museum, CA
Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, CA



Bronzed Roses , 1991
Watercolor
40 x 60"
Painted in Washington, DC
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, summer 2015.
Promised Gift of Steven Scott,  Baltimore,  in memory of the artist. 





Dragon Teeth (Campeche, Mexico ) , 1990
Watercolor
40.25 x 26"
$5000 





Chateau View , 2005
Watercolor
30 x 22"
Painted in Brittany, France, 2005
Private Collection





Bibi's Torch , 1997
Watercolor
30 x 40"
Private Collection





Lago Torches , 1997
Watercolor
40 x 60"
Painted in El Salvador, 1997
Private Collection





Bel Air , 2000
Watercolor
40 x 60"
Painted in Bel Air, CA, 2000
Private Collection





Convergence , 2004
Watercolor
40 x 60"
Painted in Costa Rica, 2004
Private Collection





Hibiscus Morning , 1998
Watercolor
20 x 60"
Painted in Costa Rica, 1998
Private Collection





Jade and Hibiscus , 2004
Watercolor
60 x 20"
Private Collection





Elbow , 2005
Watercolor
60 x 40"
Painted in Costa Rica, 2005
Private Collection





Light Lotuses, 2001
Watercolor
60 x 40"
Private Collection






Napa Glories, 1997
Watercolor
60 x 40"
Collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.





Late Summer Garden, 2002
Watercolor
41 x 26"
Private Collection





Hillwood Tulips, 1997-2000
Watercolor
26 x 40 1/2"
Painted at Hillwood Mansion, Washington, DC.
Private Collection





Road to Colon, 2000
Watercolor
60 x 20"
Painted in Costa Rica
Private Collection





Asian Peonies Allegro, 1997
Watercolor
25 3/4 x 40 3/4"
Painted in Washington, DC
Private Collection





Birch Swoop, 2003
Watercolor
26 x 29"
Private Collection





Santa Fe Poppies, 2003
Watercolor
30 x 22 1/4"
Private Collection





Bridge, 2003
Watercolor
26 x 20 1/2"
Private Collection





Louisiana Tulips, 1997
Watercolor
40 x 30 1/2"
Painted in New Orleans, LA
Private Collection





Punta Aguila, 1997
Watercolor
25 3/4 x 40 1/2"
Painted in Dominican Republic, 1998
Private Collection





Running Through, 1997
Watercolor
25 3/4 x 40 3/4"
Painted in Washington D.C., 1998
Private Collection




Set 1 Set 2 Set 3

Reviews

"Patricia Tobacco Forrester's watercolors are painted directly from nature. While artists have been painting 'plein air' watercolors for several centuries, traditionally such landscapes have been rather small and intimate. Unlike those precedents, Forrester's watercolors are large, elaborate, astutely observed and rendered images, more akin in scale to studio paintings. Considering the size and complexity  of her images and the fact that they are painted outdoors with a medium greatly affected by the nature of the weather, they are somewhat of a technical feat. That she works from nature for six to seven hours at a stretch, almost every day, says a great deal about her personal stamina and self-discipline. In addition, she is a keenly intelligent painter with a firm grasp of art history and this, too, is clearly evident in her work."

"While her paintings are a direct response to the particulars of the landscape, the parks of Washington, D.C., the woods of northern California or the tropical vegetation of South America and the Equatorial islands, they are much more than imitations of nature. In the process of rendering the detailed specifics of flora and regional topography, the observed world becomes entwined with her memories and reflections, resulting in multi-layered poetic and psychological musings. Ultimately, Forrester's images fit more comfortably with the deeply personal, visionary landscapes of painters such as Samuel Palmer, Egon Schiele, Charles Burchfield, and Georgia O'Keefe. It is nature fused with myth and enchantment, and within this arena lies the greatest potential for painting."


John Arthur

A writer and independent curator, John Arthur is recognized as an authority on contemporary American Realism. Among the many books he has published are Realist Drawings and Watercolors (1980) and Spirit of Place: Contemporary Landscape Painting and the American Tradition (1989), which include Forrester's paintings.