It's the Final Countdown By: Maddi Swanson

Over the past four years at Mercy High School I have really grown as an artist. I have accomplished many things by hard work and by trial and error. Below there are examples of the development of my artwork throughout the years. The artwork is from the beginning my high school career, all the way up to the end.

Growth Target : Finishing within time allotment; looking for depth in solutions. Strengths: Strong craftsmanship + value use in many mediums with full effort.

By the end of my senior year I've successfully learned is how to manage my time wisely and determine when I need extra time on a project ahead of scheduled. At first, this task was difficult to accomplish but I eventually got the hang of things. Looking in depth for solutions was challenging at times as well, but at the same time it was much less stressful than trying to manage time. This is because I have to finish whatever I am working on and if there is a problem I have no choice but to fix it. If I'm running low on time, I have to rearrange things to make it work. Luckily there weren't too many bumps in the road and after a while I started to get a hang of things. Overall, I think I have hit my growth target this year.


PAST: In my early year at Mercy High School I mostly stuck to drawing and painting. I tried to tackle the difficult task of painting a landscape. As you can see, the house was way to big compared to the tree and the tree was way to small. The entire layout doesn't make much sense at all. However, this piece did introduce me to oil paint and a different way of thinking when envisioning how to paint a picture. My biggest mistake with painting landscapes sophomore year, is I started creating the objects placed in the front of the painting and I worked my way back into the distance. This piece showed me that I needed to work with oil paint little more before I could get the hang of it. Considering this was the first attempt with oil paint, it wasn't too shabby. All I had to do was keep working at it and I just needed to give it another shot. My freshman year I thought the picture of the hand and mirror presented above was one of the best drawings I had drawn up to that date. Perhaps it was at the time, but compared to how I am able to manipulate charcoal now, it's not my best. One reason I say this is because it looks like a coloring page. You can tell that I outlined the hand and mirror and just filled in the values. Another reason is the values are poorly done and they are unrealistic because they aren't intense enough. The last reason is because the hand and mirror are lacking clean edges and lines. The vase drawing has the exact same issues. The dog in the teacup I had painted also showed the real potential I had in the class. Acrylic paint drys fast so trying to paint all the fur was a real hassle. I tried my best to make it look as realistic as I could but it fell short when I made the shadow of the teacup too sharp. Even though these aren't my best work, these showed that I had potential and I just needed some tips and tricks to help me grow.


PRESENT: By the time my senior year came around, I decided I wanted to redeem myself. I wanted to retry some of the things I couldn't make to my liking in previous years, so I decided to make another oil paint landscape. This time around I was able to visualize the landscape on the page before putting any paint on the canvas. In this picture I changed the color of things based on distance and where the light hit it. By using pallet knives I was able to sculpt the paint into the desired shape I wanted. I learned many different painting techniques and when it comes to oil, sometimes less it more. I also once again attempted to paint another dog, but this time I worked quickly so I could easily blend the acrylic paint while painting. I think the dog truly shows my growth over the past few years. Today my artwork looks much neater, realistic, and the values are the correct intensity. With charcoal pieces I could improve more on mastering how to draw hair but overall I am very happy with the charcoal piece above. I was able to give life to his eyes, give the skin a smooth look, and draw everything proportional. If you look at the hands from the picture I made freshman year compared to this year, there is no contest. Senior year wins by a landslide. It shows that I learned how to use charcoal and I kept it look neat. Not only did I just do painting this year but I also attempted new mediums as well. I tried to try new forms of art so I could grow more as an artist and see what I like best. That is why I embroidered a pillow, I created a mosaic a guitar, tried my hand in photography, and I worked more with sculpting clay. I want to go out of my comfort zone and push myself to always do my best.

FUTURE GROWTH TARGET: Being able to master charcoal and oil paint.

FUTURE: Art is a huge outlet for me and it’s the one time of day I can forget about stress, ignore distractions, and relax. Over the past four years at mercy, I’ve learned how to use oil and acrylic paint properly, how to manipulate clay into a desired form, how to fuse glass work, and so much more. As I grow as an artist in the future, I want to expand my abilities by trying new things and I want to prefect my technique by developing the skills I have already acquired. Art is important because I experience it in my everyday life. I hear art in music, on the radio, I witness it in movies, see it in pictures online, and I experience art in nature and loved ones every day. Art makes my life and the lives of others better, and it makes the world a much more enjoyable place to live. I have learned that I rely on art to relieve stress and make me happier. I also hope that in the future I will be able to incorporate art in my job because art is a great passion of mine and one that I want to continue.

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