Anything boys can draw, girls can do just as well… if not better.

Anything boys can draw, girls can do just as well… if not better.

This isn’t a frail opinion, it’s the concrete truth. And this proof will be found in the artistic pudding of an exhibition known as “Art By Girls," set to kickoff at the Gilbert W. Perry, Jr. Center for the Arts on Saturday.

The exhibition will feature more than a dozen works from three young ladies, of which two are Middletown natives, in painter Katie Liliard and photographer Courtney Swift, as well as Liliard’s painter friend Kala Hagopian, of Philadelphia.

With pieces in the show tied to themes including animals and music, Liliard and Hagopian each give a sneak preview of one of their pieces that will be on display. 

Q Katie, one of the paintings you’re going to exhibit features a girl holding a puppy. The painting conveys a strong sense of warmth and appears photo realistic. How were you able to achieve this?
A My training in painting is figurative based; we studied from life. So I have technical knowledge. And as far as creating any essence or moods, that’s me in the painting and my childhood puppy. He passed away last year, so this is a piece I felt like I had to do. I thought Middletown would be the perfect place to present it, since me and my family would see it there.

Q What was your dog’s name?
A His name was Nugget. Nugget’s making the news [laughs]!

Q Kala, you illustrated a frog painting that feels very natural and true to life, which adds a nice variety to the show. What inspired that piece?
A I grew up in Vermont. And being around nature all the time, and going with my dad to various ponds, I kind of grew up experiencing and learning about amphibians and other animals. I was really interested in amphibians because they’re like the first indicators of environmental problems. They’re the first creatures to be affected because they’re so small. And their population is dwindling.

Q What’s the blue image that the frog is on top of?
A A lot of my current work focuses on representing figures, or animals, and then combining it with a pattern. For instance, it could be a working pattern that I’d see in the environment and kind of exaggerate it and bring it out in the painting. The blue pattern in this piece is representative of what you’d see in leaves. I thought that was a fitting pattern for a frog or beetle to rest on leaves.

Q Since this exhibition highlights the fact that all of the work is being done by girls, are there times when you feel like your work is underappreciated because you’re not guys?
A Katie: I don’t, really. I think women hold a strong presence in art history, as much as men.

A Kala: That doesn’t cross my mind. I feel I have to prove myself as a skilled individual because I want to execute my work in the best way possible and be successful at what I’m doing. I push myself to do better all the time to prove to myself that I can push further and do better at my work.