Some artists are capable of capturing an image with a few strokes of a pen or brush, for others they practice and hone their skills each day.
Both methods of talent were on display at the Kaysinger Junior High Art Contest hosted at the Missouri State Fairgrounds Thursday morning.
“It is a good experience for the students to have the opportunity to come out and draw from observation,” Lori Larimore, art instructor at Green Ridge, said. “It’s an opportunity for them to learn from others and even to be pushed a little bit by their peers.”
Sixteen students from each of the 11 conference schools were chosen to attend the event.
The students are given two hours to create a work using one of eight media: pen and ink, charcoal, markers, graphite pencils, watercolors, pastels, colored pencils or mixed media.
The students were allowed to select the image they wanted to capture on the Fairgrounds, and in some cases were allowed to choose the media they worked with.
Each school could have a maximum of two students per medium and most teachers said they allowed the students to choose what they worked with.
“We have an outstanding group of students once again,” Mary Kehl, art teacher at Sacred Heart School, said. “We have perfect weather this year and the kids are working really hard on their individual projects this morning.”
After completing their works and a break for lunch, the students met for a group activity competition.
“The students are given a small square with an image on it,” art instructor from Smithton Mel Mercer said. “We give them a bigger square of paper and ask them to replicate the image they have been given to the larger size.”
The larger squares are then connected together to recreate the original image.
The 16 students from each school work together as a team, with each student contributing a square.
“We judge them based on their accuracy, and speed and the work as a whole,” Mercer added. “It’s a way for them to compete together but still use their individual skills.”
Throughout the morning, students could be found in pairs and groups asking their friends, classmates and peers for a critique of their work.
With a two-hour time limit that included finding the location where they wanted to work, there was not a lot of time for talking as the young artists were focused on their work.
Best friends Cameron Whisler and Gavin Ichrist from Tipton were seated on the same bench, each concentrating while working on a landscape in the Highway Gardens.
“At first we were going someplace else, but it seemed like everybody else was going there,” Whisler said. “When I saw this, I thought of Narnia.”
“I liked the bush and the arbor, and besides that, the sun isn’t in our eyes,” Whisler added.
Whisler had his arm in a sling that he said made his work a little more difficult, but he made some accommodations to make his work easier.
“I’m lucky because I can draw with both hands,” he said. “That helped but we taped the paper down to my board before we came and that really helped too.”
As seventh graders, it was the first time the two boys could attend the competition but said they hoped to return next year.
Many of the teachers had different selection criteria for the students who attended. Some teachers asked for volunteers while others personally selected the students they brought to the event.
“I pick mine as a reward for the work they have done in class,” Anthony Mitchell II, of Stover, said. “They feel rewarded by the competition and want to learn.
“I don’t want them to not take this seriously,” he added. “For my students they think it is an honor to attend.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484