Strokes of genius: BV students show off artwork

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Berryville High School senior Abigail Nickell shows one of her entries in the high school art show.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

The Old Rock Gym was filled with fresh colors from fresh faces last week as part of Berryville’s art extravaganza, which showcases the talents of student artists.

The fourth annual Berryville High School Art Show was held Wednesday, April 19, and Thursday, April 20, for students, parents and community members to peruse the projects art students have been working on this school year. Art teachers Boone Hooker and Paige Huffman said the show featured pieces from beginning artists to the concentration pieces from seniors in AP Art.

“We’ve got literally just about everything represented in the art show,” Hooker said. “We try to hit on some major art concepts throughout the school year and also do projects with pointillism, pop art and portrait studies.”

Senior Deyli Ramirez said some of her pieces came from an assignment where students were tasked with showing the transition of time in their art. Ramirez said she chose her cat for her subject.

“This was part of a three-piece project showing the transition of time. I painted three paintings. The first one is my cat sleeping, and he’s in black and white,” she said. “In the next one, he is stretching, and colors start to stretch into his body. The final one is a portrait of him in full color. I think it’s the best one.”

Ramirez said she chose to begin in black and white and add more colors in each piece to show the motion of her cat and the passage of time.

Senior Alli Depew said her pieces combine art with another passion of hers: biology.

“This year, I finger-painted all of my pieces. I stuck mainly to human anatomy because I’m studying to become a nurse. That’s what I’m going to college for,” Depew said.

Her pieces feature organs such as the heart, brain, lungs and intestines in a wide array of colors.

“I definitely did not want to paint them as they would be seen in photographs. I wanted to do them more abstract,” Depew said. “It kind of lets people get their own visual take. In my piece on the brain, I used my yellows to show how thoughts go through parts of the brain.”

Senior Shreeya Gandhi said she displayed some of her ceramics in the art show, including a birdhouse and planters for cacti.

“Cacti are my favorite plants, and pastels are my favorite colors. We had to make planters, so I combined the two,” she said. “I made these four little pots by throwing clay on the wheel. Whenever it was kind of dry, I made the little holes to put the string in so you can hang the planters.”

Gandhi said she has enjoyed studying art and ceramics in high school and will try to take an art class in college.

“I’ve really enjoyed this class because with all the other classes, especially AP ones, it’s really stressful,” she said, “and in art there’s so much creativity. There are assignments, but the instructions leave a lot of freedom to explore your own style.”

Senior Abigail Nickell agreed, saying her art class helps her de-stress at the end of the school day.

“Having my AP Art class at the end of the day is a good way to bookend the craziness of my schedule,” she said. “I might take an art class in college to grow more as an artist. It’s something I want to carry on, even if it’s not as a profession.”

Nickell said she focused on acrylic painting this year, working on moving from perfectionism to more expressive brushstrokes.

“My first painting was this red girl. You can see the lines are perfect,” she said. “As we progressed throughout the year, I decided to make my concentration the exploration of different races and focused on expressive brushstrokes rather than trying to be a perfectionist. I kind of just splashed color wherever I wanted.”

Nickell said the project helped her learn who she is as an artist.

“Mr. Hooker has been a good teacher because he has pushed me to do things I wouldn’t on my own and made me step out of my comfort zone with this project,” she said. “My biggest success this year was finding who I was as an artist and finding my vision.”

Hooker said the art show is one of his favorite events during the school year because it gives art students a chance to be recognized for their talent and handwork by their friends, family and the community.

“Otherwise, people may not know they are this talented,” he said. “Teachers will bring their classes through, and they are blown away. Some say ‘Oh, I didn’t know this student was so good at art. They’re so quiet in my class.’ It’s cool seeing the kids display their talents.”

Hooker continued, “It makes me really proud to see the students have their artwork on display and see the rest of school being so supportive of them. We’re going to try to keep doing the art show every year. This is like our program’s Super Bowl.”

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