Fifteen high schools, including Arp, submitted a total of 250 works of art for the Longview Museum of Fine Arts’ 58th annual Student Invitational. The pieces were submitted in a variety of categories including computer graphics, photography, mixed media, painting and ceramics. Arp’s Briana Dear won third place in the painting category, earning a ribbon and a $50 cash prize.
Gretchen Rayburn has been the art instructor at Arp High School for 13 years and has had students enter the student invitational event for just as long. She couldn’t be prouder of her sophomore student, whose painting “Everywhere but Here” placed at the event.
“The competition was phenomenal this year,” Rayburn exclaimed. “You’re working against 5A schools, private schools and we’re the little 3A school working pretty hard so I’m real proud of everybody who submitted their artwork.”
Though Dear is only in her third year of art classes, she has been drawing since the age of 6. She has recently begun using paints and, in fact, the award-winning painting was among her first attempts at using oils.
“I had been playing around with acrylics and I had a whole set of oil paints, never been touched, so I tried a new media,” Dear said.
Dear admits her first attempt didn’t work well as it was a process for her to learn how to mix colors using the new medium, but she finds that she enjoys using oils.
“I like it because it can blend well,” stated Dear. “It doesn’t dry automatically like acrylic and it’s soft.”
The idea for her painting was taken from a series of pictures Dear had taken of herself in her backyard and is essentially a self-portrait.
Dear’s “Everywhere but Here” painting will remain on display at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts through March 24 after which it will be shown in the school library.
The same painting that won third place in the student invitational also received a Rating IV at the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE), the highest rating that can be achieved. While she received a top rating, that piece did not move forward to state competition, but another piece did.
A pencil drawing of Dear’s uncle, Joey Allen, will be judged at state competition Friday-Saturday, April 27-28 in San Marcos.
Dear has also earned second place at the Academic Rodeo for a pencil drawing titled Davy Jones Unleashed.
Despite her accomplishments in art, Dear has several other interests and achievements. She is part of the track team, participating in the high jump, is on the fishing team and plays several instruments including violin, piano and guitar. She is also on the academic honor roll.
“She’s phenomenal,” Rayburn stated. “I’m just really proud of her. It’s really neat to see how diverse a kid can be at a small school where we get to do so many things.”