December 6, 2021

Homer High School art show features award winners

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer High School art teacher Paul Andre, left, talks Tuesday with senior Eliot Gustafson about how to display his wire sculpture of a wolf’s head for an art show Sunday.

Meagan Condie examined a silver ring with three tiny rubies embedded in it, her favorite ring she made and later wore and now is preparing for display along with about 18 other pieces of her artwork, at the Center for the Arts in Homer from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Condie, a Homer High School senior, and Mackenzie Conklin, a junior, both won national arts awards this year, Condie for her charcoal depiction of a skull, Conklin for her drawing of a favorite pair of Converse sneakers. Condie’s work will be displayed in the show Sunday, along with art by 24 classmates in the school’s Studio 4 and 5 classes. Conklin’s was in Tuesday’s show.

For Condie, her favorite piece is that ring. Conklin treasures a colored pencil rendering of the American flag. Condie won an art scholarship to Alfred University, which she will attend in the fall, while Conklin has another year to decide but is considering nursing, while still devoting spare time to art.

And teachers Paul Andre and Brian Wallace, who jointly teach the two classes, are proud of the students’ art and achievements.

The early classes build a foundation of skills, Andre said, such as depth perception and shading, so that by the time they are in the higher level courses, Studio 4 and 5, they are ready to drive their own projects. Students come up with their own concepts and he will provide the medium, or perhaps he will provide the idea and the student will choose the medium.

“What you’re seeing there, is really them,” he said of the show. “That’s the show where we’re going to kick some serious can. It’s the best of what we have here.”

The earlier levels of Studio 1, 2 and 3, had their art show Tuesday afternoon in the school’s music building.
For Andre and Wallace, seeing the students progress through the years is gratifying.

“We’re both teachers, but we’re artists too,” Wallace said.

“You watch them grow and become better and better and accelerate through the year. They all start at the same place and then some just shoot through the roof,” he said.

Marleah Dentes shaded the nose of a picture of her border collie, Spark, drawn from a photo she had taken, constantly zooming in on her phone.

Dentes chose which pencil to use depending on its hardness: the harder the pencil the darker the shade would come out without applying much pressure. She kept reapplying different shades to reflect the shininess of the nose, which was wet and glossy, difficult to capture. And one eye took about three hours to get just right.

Catie VanOrden, a senior, described a mermaid choker she made in her free time, casting molds of the mermaids she made from clay, in a resin that becomes the charm for the necklace. She will display about a dozen pieces, including drawings and watercolors. And she still had to finish a jewelry box.

And after the art show Condie will get the ring back and go on to wear it around the halls of school. Incorporating her art into her style.

She loves making jewelry, but has yet to decide if she will pursue that at Alfred. The high school art program opened the door for her.

“Andre is always on me, telling me to do this or do that,” she said.