Color, shadow highlight award-winning student art
March 12, 2014
Reagan McCauley had never been interested in illustrations until recently, but she may keep doing more of them based on the result she achieved.
McCauley, a senior, was one of eight Eastside Catholic School students – five of them from Sammamish – who were honored with regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards last month. The awards are given in 28 categories, including designs, drawings, paintings and photography.
Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to win the regional awards, which encompass a 10-state area. First-place recipients – or Gold Key winners – are eligible to receive a national medal later this month.
McCauley’s illustration, “How to Make a Cherry Pie,” was one of four regional Gold Key winners from Eastside Catholic. Sammamish residents Andres O’Beirne and Abi Kirsten, along with Abby Ross of Seattle, also won top honors.
“How to Make a Cherry Pie” is a colorful recipe with a nod to old-fashioned cookbooks. McCauley hadn’t done many illustrations until this year, when Eastside Catholic art teacher Libby Kady piqued her interests.
“It’s kind of a cool form of art because I used to try and be a realistic artist more often,” she said, “but I think I’m more of a whimsical person and this is more of my style.”
McCauley said she spent about six hours over two days to finish the piece. In addition to her Gold Key, she earned a second-place Silver Key for her drawing, “Seattle Thinking.”
“I consider myself a somewhat serious artist,” she said. “I’m going to college next year, so I definitely want to, at least, minor in art – maybe not studio art, but digital art or something more creative that I could turn into a career more easily.”
While McCauley’s work features bright hues, Kirsten’s Gold Key-winning drawing, “Keys,” relies on darker, subdued ones.
The piece, Kirsten said, came out of a class project with Kady in which she used a foreshortening style – making the nearest points appear larger while tapering to smaller points in the distance.
Kirsten, a sophomore, used the piano in her home as inspiration, and after drawing several perspectives in charcoal, settled on a version that best represented foreshortening.
Kirsten didn’t take her first art class until last year, but has quickly blossomed. She also got an honorable mention nod for her painting, “Picnic.” She’s not the first artist in her family – one of her older sisters is a graphic designer for a newspaper in Virginia, and also designs a Tumblr page for American Express.
O’Beirne, a freshman, is in Kady’s digital photography course. His winning piece, “Abuela Alicia,” features his grandmother with a cup of tea at the table. It’s done in triptych fashion – three photos of her face, hands and feet.
“It was pretty cool lighting,” he explained, “because we have windows to the right, so there was a lot of natural lighting coming in during sunset.”
Two other Sammamish residents at Eastside Catholic garnered Silver Key awards. Sophomore Jillian Broughton picked up one for photography, and junior Sarah Ford got one for drawing.
Broughton has an extensive background in photography, having taken classes at Cornish College of the Arts, Photographic Center Northwest and Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design.
Her photo, “Minute,” features a street scene in Seattle. One man is looking at his cell phone, while the pizza chef behind him is staring into the camera lens.
“I like being able to catch a moment in a photograph … instead of painting it or drawing it,” Broughton explained.
Ford’s drawing is done in charcoal on top of newspaper, and the piece, “Faith,” captures the artist’s spiritual tendencies. One of the newspaper articles is about Pope Francis.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to win (an award),” Ford said, “but it was really exciting for me, and it kind of inspired me to keep going, and I know that I’m going to just keep drawing and try to have a career as an artist someday.”