Kathy Campbell’s International Baccalaureate (IB) student artists unveiled the fruits of their creative labor at the Burwell Morgan Mill in Millwood, Virginia on Thursday. As Clarke County residents have come to expect, this year’s crop of budding artists demonstrate what can be accomplished by mixing artistic passion with excellent instruction.
“The IB art program is an opportunity for each student to individually explore their own artistic talents,” Campbell said at the Mill on Thursday afternoon. “I don’t give the students a particular assignment, but rather try to guide them as they work on their own.”
A steady stream of parents, students and art lovers wandered about the gallery where each artist’s work was displayed on panels. Patrons and student artists mingled and strolled through the gallery, often lingering in front of a particularly beautiful or eye-catching object.
Clarke County High School junior Grayson Twigg spent much of his IB art class rendering images using a mix of acrylics and pencil.
“I had never worked in that medium before so it was a new experience for me,” said Twigg. “I liked it.”
Twigg said that he begins his portraitures with a photo of his subject. Next, he draws the image then uses paint to add color, texture and depth.
“I’ve always liked to draw but never tried seriously until this year,” Twigg said. “Ms. Campbell’s IB class was a big opportunity for me because she allows you to take the class in any direction that you want but is still there to guide you when you need it.”
Twigg said that Campbell worked with him to expand his own artistic technique by suggesting the work of established pencil artists that he could study and review on-line.
Twigg says that a lot of creative work goes into each of his classroom creations.
“I easily spent twelve hours on each piece,” Twigg said. “Once I get started the creative work is easy but the detailed work is still tedious.”
Instructor Campbell said that there aren’t a lot of rules or recipes for coaxing creativity from her students. Campbell uses her gentle personality and own artistic experience to individually guide each student’s experience and growth.
“I tell the students that the process is as important as the final result,” Campbell said.
Students maintain individual sketchbooks throughout the course to record their ideas and concepts and also to communicate with Campbell. Campbell regularly reviews the sketchbooks and then provides advice about technique or creative direction.
“The student sketchbooks are used to work through sketches and ideas,” Campbell explained. “They’re important because they give the student a way to look back at the creative process.”
All 20 of Campbell’s students had the art on display at the Mill, a requirement for the International Baccalaureate class.
Senior Dylan Kitselman thinks that art isn’t only a visual medium. In addition to an abstract painting that reflected his interest in Russia, Kitselman also demonstrated an audio experience that he designed to evoke art from its listeners.
“I designed a 4’x4’x4’ cube that is painted white inside,” Kitselman explained. Kitselman also assembled music playlists that vary from one hour to up to two days long.
“Inside the cube I mounted audio jacks so that a person can listen to the playlists using headphones,” Kitselman continued. “When the listener exits the both there’s a place on the outside cube where they can draw what the music has inspired for them.”
Kitselman said that the listening cube concept grew from a combination of his interests in art and technology. Kitselman has applied to four colleges and says that he plans to pursue a degree in interactive design.
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