Monthly Archives: September 2017

Featured Student Artist: Michelle Fang


Michelle Fang art PictureMy piece is called “Warming Hands” and it was published in the 2016 Summer Issue.

I am a junior attending Flower Mound High School. Art has played an integral part of my life; I’ve completed AP Art my sophomore year and now I paint murals for local elementary schools and compete in regional and state art competitions.

At my school, I am the Vice President of National Art Honor Society, where I conduct outreach projects to retirement homes and portrait painting projects to orphanages in Ghana and Brazil. Not only has art helped me connect with my community, art has also allowed me to pursue my passion for creativity and express my experiences in a very unique way that transcends culture and age.

My particular interests lie painting oil, watercolor, and charcoal techniques. I work on my portfolio at Steve Ko’s Private Art studio every week. Throughout my high school years, I became curious about capturing fleeting memories and moments of art-num-367385376happiness so in my self portrait, Warming Hands, my purpose was to illustrate the warming our hands in the winter was short but sweet. My style of painting is not exaggerative, instead I aim to communicate emotions to my audience through subtle details in the eye, color choice, and brush stroke methods.

In the future, I hope to attend the Rhode Island School of Design and major in design. I will be updating my portfolio on .


Featured Student Artist: Morgan Rogers


Morgan Rogers art IMG_2204My name is Morgan Rogers, I am fifteen years old and I started drawing when I was thirteen. I taught myself how to draw by studying other artwork and photographs and I have taken a lot of interest in photorealistic art. I was inspired to create my piece Serenity by a girl I saw once. She looked incredibly peaceful and calm, and I wanted to create a portrait that conveyed this same state of mind, thus resulting in Serenity! I currently continue to art-num-288628676create many portraits and I have begun experimenting with oil paint. One of my goals for the future is to be a national medalist in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. I also can’t wait to see what i will be able to create in the future!

Featured Student Artist: Amanda Gargac


My name is Amanda Gargac and I am a Top Ten Winner for my painting “StorytellerAmanda Gargac art.jpg“.

I am 17 years old and just graduated from Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon Ohio. I plan to further my education at The University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne Indiana in the fall. I will be majoring in animation and minoring in painting.

The piece I created is an acrylic painting of my grandfather. My Grandpa is one of my biggest inspirations and has always supported my art. Every time I see him he tells me stories for hours on end. These are stories about valuable life lessons, how he and my grandma raised 13 children, his childhood, and old jobs he completed. Most importantly, he tells me how to grow up and be a successful woman that he will always be proud of. Family means more to anything else I wanted to pay tribute who has not only done so much for me, but countless others. art-num-92276949He tells me so many stories to me so I thought I’d tell his to the world with this painting.

My goals for the future are to one day work for Pixar. This has been my dream since I was 8 years old and I am determined to get there. I also with to continue painting and inspiring others through my art work. I feel very strongly about portraying important messages in art to evoke change. In doing this, I have worked to combat issues such as mental health awareness and anti-bullying. A goal of mine would be to continue educating on these topics and make changes to help even just one person going through a terrible time.

Featured Student Artist: Bailey Piechota


Bailey artI am a very recent graduate of high school and am currently enrolled as an incoming freshman at a local University in their Speech-Language Pathology program. I hope to receive a minor in art and to continue my current long-distance apprenticeship with Ani Art Academy. Art will always be an important part of my life and ultimately, I would like to become an art instructor in my spare time.

My ‘Of Serpents and Shadows’ piece which was selected as one of your Top Ten, was a product of nostalgia for the times when Nicole (my sister), Emily (my cousin), and I would hide out in my grandmother’s downstairs den and play all kinds of pretend. Usually it would involve books we read at the library Grandma would take us to and we would remake the stories our own ways with better endings (in our opinion). I was always a fan of one of the original art-num-865403225stories about Aladdin, and my piece ended up reflecting that same mysterious vibe which I used to get when Grandma would read the story to us before bed. Grandpa would always interrupt with a ridiculous made-up ending about bears or some other wild animal eating everyone which tended to break the suspense up a little (even though we knew the ending). So, I guess the real inspiration for my art lies with these people. Without them I would not have gotten invested in much of anything I am today. I draw for them.

Featured Art Teacher: Karla (Kay) Kelman


Karla Kelman photo 1Wife of 17 years and mother of two, Karla (Kay) Kelman is an artist and art educator at Southlands Christian Schools in Rowland Heights, CA. Originally from the Caribbean, her family migrated to Brooklyn, New York in the early 1990s during her middle school years. Prior to the pursuit of her degree in Graphic Design at Oral Roberts University and Oklahoma State University, her art experience was self taught. At the age of 9, she stumbled upon a tourist on her tiny island of Grenada creating a plein air painting. The movement of his brush strokes upon the canvas mesmerized Karla Kelman photo 2her and in that moment, she fell in love with the craft. Her hope is to paint that same passion for the arts upon the hearts and lives of her students, and everyone who crosses her path. Her vision is to bring value to art education by facilitating meaningful community connections for her students, and raising the bar of expectation for who they are and who they can become. By first establishing and building relationships with her students, she constructs a working space for coaching and mentorship. Students are very aware that she is interested in them first as individuals, then as young artists. Daily, her students are addressed by their first names upon entering and existing the classroom. Music is always playing in the background while students work. The atmosphere is relaxed and engaging, while positivity and encouragement are responses to challenging situations. Her work at Southlands has afforded her the opportunity to pour into the lives of young men and women who will create their own future with more than just their brush-strokes. Kelman has been quoted as saying, “I thank God everyday that I stumbled upon this school. SCS believes that creativity is an important component student learning. They provide students (and teachers) the opportunity to spread their wings and fly into their God-given destinies. So I am spreading my wings and teaching students how to do the same.

Please visit my website at Kelman photo 3

Featured Student Artist: Aizhong (Kelly) He


Aizhong He artMy name is Aizhong (Kelly) He, one of the Top Ten Winners from Summer 2016 and Spring 2017 grade 4-6 division. I am now a sixth grader attending Roberto Clemente Middle School.

One day in fourth grade after school, I brought home some watercolor paintings I did with a teacher at school. My parents were amazed by the result in my paintings, and because of that, my parents payed more attention to art. They took me regularly to art classes, entered my paintings to competitions, and noticed that I might have some talent in art. At that time I was still young and had no experience in watercolor before. We took the watercolor paintings to a contest and each of my paintings got a recognition. I enjoyed going to my art classes and looked at art in a deeper way.Aizhong He 2 art.JPG

I had a total of 7 different art teachers and learned a lot from every one of them. Among them there are 2 teachers that I spent time the most. I am currently still learning from them. Surprisingly, these 2 teachers are almost the total opposite in style. My first teacher teaches me the most basic things about painting and how to use my time wisely. He says I tend to spend too much time on details and blending and that I don’t have enough contrast that the end result doesn’t look 3D. Taking this advice really shows a big difference in the results of my paintings now. My second teacher focuses on creativity and originality. This teacher participates in many art competitions and some of them require your art to be original. She thinks that this is very important and makes sure every one of her students achieve this. Creativity is something that this teacher thinks every artist should have and have their imagination go beyond the limits. But, both of these teachers share something in common: they are both nice, gentle, hard-working, and motivational to their students.

My piece “Spring Colors” that I won Top Ten Summer 2016 was my first still life painting. I have many things that I am not satisfied with, and a long way to go before almost everything looks good to me. I wanted to learn more about painting, so my teacher suggested me to start painting still life. I like challenges so I really wanted to paint still life. I want to improve on making my paintings look more 3D and create more contrast.

My piece “Summer Calla Lilies” that I won Top Ten Spring 2017 was my 2nd still life painting. What inspired me to paint “Calla Lillies” was my teacher. His paintings of still life seemed so real I could just touch it, but for me it is much harder to create that effect than painting photos. Then, I decided to explore close observation deeper so I can improve my future paintings.