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Directions lead to contest win

November 13, 2007|By CHRIS COPLEY

We have a winner! Stephanie Carter, 15, a junior at Heritage Academy west of Hagerstown, has won Pulse's 2007 student art contest.

Her untitled image of flowers in a vase was selected best of show by Pulse teen journalists. They selected Stephanie's piece from among the contest's top winners.

Judges in this year's contest were Eileen Berger, owner of Just Lookin' gallery in Hagerstown; Nathan Holmes, graphic artist with The Herald-Mail; and Diane Sibbison, program manager with Delaplaine Visual Art Education Center in Frederick, Md.

The contest was organized into three categories: paintings, drawings and all other media. But with so many of this year's entries crossing the line between categories, judges sometimes arbitrarily assigned hard-to-classify pieces to a particular category.

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Other winners in the contest are: Heritage Academy junior Cody Butts, 16, of Clear Spring, whose mixed-media drawing of building a fence was named best drawing; and Natalie Idalis Feliciano, 16, of Smithsburg High School, who produced two winning pieces - a colored pencil landscape that was named best painting and a brightly colored quilted handbag that won the mixed-media category.

Stephanie said she was very surprised to hear she had won the art contest.

"I didn't think this piece was very good," she said. "I was just following the directions."

Her teacher, Shelly Rohrbaugh, submitted many entries to the contest. Stephanie said she enjoyed Rohrbaugh's class.

"Miss Rohrbaugh is a good teacher and teaches us very well," she said. "She not only explains it, but shows you step by step. If someone has a question, she takes time to answer it."

The image for the winning artwork was a bit complex to produce, Rohrbaugh said. Using a pencil and a large piece of heavy paper, each student drew a vase with flowers. Rohrbaugh said she wanted students to explore the contrast between the organic shapes of the natural world and the formal shapes of products made by machines. Students went over the pencil with black marker, then filled in the shapes with crayon. India ink was painted over all the crayon, then students scratched off the ink to reveal the color underneath.

The judges liked the effect, discussing the illusion of depth and the patterns created by the scratching technique.

"This (category) is really going to be tough," Berger said, looking over a dozen entries using the same technique.

The majority of the 31 entries in the contest were mixed media, which led to debate among the judges as they reviewed the submissions.

"The hardest part was deciding which piece went in which category," Sibbison joked.

Eventually, judges placed 10 items into the painting category and 19 in the drawing category. Only two items competed in the "other" category. Judges picked a winner and first runner-up in each category.

Pulse writers then looked at the three top winners and selected the best of show; the runner-up advanced to be named the category winner.

For winning best of show, Stephanie wins a $50 check from The Herald-Mail and free framing of her winning artwork from Howard's Art Supplies and Frames in Hagerstown.

Stephanie said she is more into sports and music than art. She plays volleyball for Heritage Academy and sings in a choir at her church, Refuge Tabernacle in Waynesboro, Pa.

"When I grow up, I want to be a youth leader," she said. "And a physical education teacher at a Christian school."

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