MOUNT VERNON — The artwork of Ayanna Lowe, a student at Knox Learning Center has a place of honor in the offices of the Ohio Department of Education. Judy Hassel from ODE had contacted principal Quinn Haas about student work that shows exceptional abilities.
Once Haas learned of Lowe’s artistic abilities from her art teacher Kim Aritonovich, he asked Lowe to submit something and the rest, as they say, is history.
Working from photographs, Lowe completed a series of six watercolor portraits, a progression of a woman’s face from childhood to old age. “It was really fun,” Lowe said. “That was the first time I used watercolors. I wanted to try watercolor and I wanted to try portraits. I think it came out really nice.”
Lowe learned a lot about watercolor paint along the way. “You have to do it a certain way, you have to use certain amounts of water,” she told the News. “If you mess up, you have just a little bit of time to fix it.”
As for portrait work, Lowe said most challenging feature was the eyes. “Because with watercolor brushes, even the tiny little brushes, it’s hard to get the precision needed for eyelids and the pupils. That’s probably the hardest part. You have to let it dry or else everything will smear in the eye.”
“It was kind of difficult doing wrinkles and laugh lines, too,” she added. “It was a challenge to figure out what to do and how to do it.”
Lowe first became interested in art when she was a little girl. When she was about 10 years old, she said, an older lady taught her how to do portraits. “She would sit down with me and teach me how to draw the faces and paint them.”
Lowe said it is nice that ODE has four of the six portraits in the office. “I like that somebody actually likes what I did,” she explained. “People are going to get to see my work. It’s exciting.”
Haas is pleased as well. “I feel that it is always exciting to see a young person’s talents show forth when you did not have a clue they were gifted in some way unforeseen,” he said. “I am always surprised in one way or another. That’s why I like working with our youth — there is always something that is positive about our kids.”
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