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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
There's something to be said about taking a blank canvas or a common object and turning it into a work of art. Some art students from Washington County High School found that out recently when they won several awards at the 2009 Caveland Region Exhibit and Competition held by the Kentucky Art Education Association.
“I'm very proud of them,” said WCHS art teacher Marilyn Peters. “I think they did extremely well. They are very talented students, of course that was evidenced by the way they performed in the competition. Sometimes my students take their own talents for granted. This helps them to see that what they have done is more complex than what people may realize.”
Washington County is one of 23 counties in the Caveland Region of the KyAEA. Six students from WCHS took home awards in a variety of mediums.
Senior Josh Baker won three awards, including two first-place honors in cultural heritage and metalsmithing, which featured his work titled “Iron Man.” The winning piece has some interesting origins.
“I made it out of an old dog bowl,” said Baker. “I got it really hot and bent it down into the shape of a face. I think it's really cool. I never really won a lot before, so it's exciting for me. I'm glad I got to go to something like that.”
Baker has been doing three-dimensional art for about a year.
“I've always done 2-D before,” added Baker. “Everybody was doing 2-D stuff this year, so I wanted to do something different for my last year in school. I used to love to draw, but I'm starting to really like 3-D because you can pick up anything and make something out of it. I can be more creative with it.”
Junior Laura Turner won three awards, taking second place and an honorable mention in the mixed media category and winning an honorable mention in drawing for her self-portrait.
“I think I did OK,” she said. “I'm alright with it, but I had other pieces that were much better. I'm more of a drawer than a painter.”
Senior Paul Hamilton thought he did pretty well, winning first and second place in the photography competition and an honorable mention in printmaking.
“I got first and second place. That's pretty cool,” said Hamilton. “I like drawing and painting, but I like drawing better because I can see the shapes better and do shading. I draw a lot of inspiration from God, my friends and family.”
Senior Tobey Boswell picked up two awards, second place for “Imperial Dragon” in the cultural heritage category and third place for “Copy of Me” in printmaking.
“Printmaking is a process where you take a square of linoleum-type plastic and you carve a design into it,” Boswell said. "When that is done, you apply the paint you want and press the paper and plate together.”
Boswell's “Imperial Dragon” drew inspiration from Chinese porcelain.
“I chose to name him 'Imperial Dragon' because he had five toes," she said. "Only the Emperor is allowed to have a dragon with five toes. A person without noble blood would have a three-toed dragon, and someone with higher ranking would have four toes. The more toes, the higher up the social ladder you are.”
Boswell has no immediate plans following graduation, but would like to find work in the art field doing drawing or woodcarving.
“My dad whittled out little propellers when he was a child,” Boswell said. “I started off when I was a kid, too. I would whittle some, but I couldn't whittle very well. I started again this past summer. I whittled out a small propeller and got one side of it done. He saw it and said 'You're whittling a little propeller, aren't you?' and I said yes, how did you know that? He said he whittled a bunch out when he was a kid and he knew exactly what I was doing by looking at it.”
Senior Heather Tingle won three awards, including an honorable mention in photography, plus third place and an honorable mention in digital media.
“I like photography because it's easier for me than drawing,” Tingle said. “It takes me a week to do a drawing or painting that most people could do in a day. With photography, I can press a button and have a picture.”
Tingle sometimes works on her art with the computer, adding effects or tweaking things here and there. She said it depends on how the original picture looks. For her third place digital media piece titled “Lockers”, she did a lot of work with effects.
“I did a lot of work with that in Photoshop," she said. "I did neon edges and I added a camera glare. With 'Mastercode' I didn't do that much editing, and on 'Dare to be Different,' I didn't do any alterations.”
Tingle plans to continue working in art after graduation.
“I plan to go to Eastern Kentucky University and major in special education,” she added. “Then I plan to go to the University of Louisville to get my master's degree in art therapy. Art therapy is a way for children or adults who have emotional or physical disabilities to express themselves through art and have a visual representation of it.”
Michelle Merriman also won an honorable mention in the painting category for her piece called "A Dysfunctional Home."
Works from all the students will be on display in the Lucretia C. Begley Gallery at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia through the end of the month. A reception and award ceremony for artists and families was held at the gallery on March 27.
All first place winners advance to the all-state competition in April. This year marks the first time that Peters has sent three winners.
“We have three this time,” Peters said. “I've sent two in the past, but this is the first year I've sent three. Hopefully they'll have a good shot. It will be with the best of the best from the whole state. We'll be competing with schools and school districts that have art teachers and art classes from kindergarten on. In our district, we have only one art teacher. We have some artists in residence that do an outstanding job, but kids here don't get to have art every day of every week. So kudos go to the kids for doing as well as they have.”
The KyAEA All-State Competition will be held at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Ky. Works will be on display April 13-26 with the closing ceremony from 2-4 p.m. on April 26 and awards presented at 3 p.m.