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Francestown woman passing time recreating works of art

  • Pam Graesser of Francestown has recreated more than 100 works of art through the Getty Museum Challenge including pieces by Andrew Wyeth, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jane Peterson and others. Courtesy photo—

  • Pam Graesser of Francestown recreated Auguste Renoir’s ‘Jeanne Samary in a low necked dress’. Courtesy photo

  • Pam Graesser of Francestown has recreated more than 100 works of art through the Getty Museum Challenge including pieces by Andrew Wyeth, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jane Peterson and others. Courtesy photo—

  • Pam Graesser of Francestown has recreated more than 100 works of art through the Getty Museum Challenge including pieces by Andrew Wyeth, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jane Peterson and others. Courtesy photo—

  • Pam Graesser of Francestown has recreated more than 100 works of art through the Getty Museum Challenge including pieces by Andrew Wyeth, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jane Peterson and others. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/4/2020 3:05:47 PM
Modified: 9/4/2020 3:05:34 PM

Like the rest of the world, Pam Graesser was searching for something to fill the void in every day life due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She had just retired after decades as a licensed clinical mental health counselor with big plans for her free time that included a month long excursion to Hawaii and French Polynesia and another trip to the Oregon coast and wine country with her husband Peter. But like most, COVID-19 put those grand plans on hold.

During one of her Instagram sessions, Graesser, who lives in Francestown, saw a post from the J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as The Getty, challenging people around the world to recreate their favorite art using just three objects lying around the house. As someone who minored in art history, Graesser thought it would be a fun way to pass the time and what she’s been able to create since the end of March is even a surprise to her.

“It was something to do once March 12 hit,” she said.

Graesser said over the course of the last five months, she has put together more than 100 images of works from famous artists to some lesser known ones.

People around the globe have come up with creative ways to recreate works, using things like food, Play-Doh, beads, vacuum cleaners and their children.

What Graesser has done is turned herself into the subject of the recreations – with the help of her husband and his photography skills. Graesser has chosen a multitude of paintings that include a female figure and using what she has around the house, played a bit of dress up to accomplish the different images.

“It’s just so challenging and weird and fun – it makes me laugh,” Graesser said. “I use a lot of makeup, I’ve got a wig and a lot of clothes.”

Over the last few months, Graesser has spent a lot of time online looking at art, finding new artists and gaining a new appreciation for the time and energy that goes into producing a piece. She has a folder on her phone of potential recreations she’s still like to pull off.

“There’s probably over 100 I haven’t done that I’d like to do,” she said.

She said it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to recreate a work, but spends a lot of time figuring out how she can do it. The idea was to take part in the challenge until summer came, but with the pandemic still forcing people to stay home and away from others, Graesser said there was no reason to stop.

And she has quite a following on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, from friends to others taking part in the challenge.

Most of the recreations happen at her home, but she has used her property in Maine for a few and even used Crotched Mountain Golf Club’s 11th fairway for her interpretation of Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”. For that particular one, Wyeth’s granddaughter even caught a glimpse of it and sent along a note.

“She said ‘you knocked it out of the park,’” Graesser said. Artist Clive Smith also reached out about one of recreations.

The goal is to post something new every day, but sometimes she’ll do three all at once to ensure she always has something to put up online for her growing number of faithful followers. She’s connected with a quite a few others taking part in the challenge, as they offer support and critiques for their work.

“I’ve really tried to challenge myself,” she said.

But for all the ones Graesser has completed and posted, a few of which have been highlighted by The Getty, there are others that the world will never see.

“For as many as I’ve been able to recreate, I’ve got a pile of them on the cutting room floor,” she said.

As of late last week, Graesser had posted 101 images and she was the subject of 98 of them – with Peter in the other three.

After taking a lot of art history, painting and drawing courses, this new found hobby has helped her rekindle that appreciation for art. She’s discovered a lot of Russian artists in the impressionist realm, Afarin Sajedi, a contemporary Iranian artist, and the work of Rita Angus, a New Zealand painter.

“I’ve got back in touch with that art history from my undergrad days,” she said.

While Graesser has a lot of things in her closet and cosmetic case at her disposal, she has been forced to get creative to pull off some of the images. And that’s part of the fun – finding a work of art and getting creative, like using cardboard to make white polka dots.

The whole process has allowed for Graesser to reach out into a world that can feel so isolating these days. It’s introduced her to people she would have never communicated with otherwise.

So for now, Graesser plans to keep creating and sharing for all to see. Find Graesser on Instagram with the handle pamelagrae.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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