Tag Archives: students

Featured Student Art: “Lincoln”



This fall, a very unique piece was entered into our national art contest from Barwell Road Elementary School in North Carolina.

Luk Siu, Selina Ifidon, Kyra Davis, and Charly Mari worked for more than 30-40 hours each creating a panel made with colored aquarium rocks.  Under the direction of Bryan L. Allyn, there were able to create this stunning piece, “Lincoln”.

Lincoln2Art specialist Bryan explains, “When starting this project, I knew that it was going to require a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and artistic ability.  I hand-selected four of my gifted students to each complete a section of the portrait of our sixteenth President.  The students’ dedication to this project was emphasized when they volunteered countless recess hours and several vacation days to see it through completion (Barwell Road Elementary is a year-round school).  I was incredibly impressed with their enthusiasm and motivation for tirelessly working on something that would take months to complete.  I am very proud to be their art teacher and mentor.  As they move on with their education, they will each be fondly remembered throughout the rest of my career.”

Constructed on four individual 12″ x 16″ wood panels, each segment of “Lincoln” was drawn using a grid system so that they would align properly.  The boards were then painted using four basic colors (dark brown, light brown, red, and black) that matched the similar shade of aquarium gravel used to cover the entire portrait.   The most tedious part of this work was the application of the rocks.  Each individual pebble was placed on top of the corresponding colored paint and adjusted so that they would all fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

Additionally, each side of the wood panels was painted wherever the colors met the edges or corners of the board.  The intention was to hang the work with slightly spaced gaps between each panel.  If the image was slightly separated from the next panel, it would give the illusion that it was still together.  The separation of the panels would be a symbolic representation that during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency the country was divided, and he was the president who brought our nation back together.

The studPaint on the Sideents enjoyed creating this piece and seeing the beautiful outcome. “It felt really good when we finally finished the Abraham Lincoln project.” Kyra Davis explained, “We had to draw, paint, and put little pebbles all over it.  It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but it was really fun!” Fellow artist Selina Ifidon added, “After completing this art work I really thought it was amazing!  I felt so happy and proud of myself.” Charly Marin learned a great deal of patience while creating the piece, and added “This project took a lot of patience and time.  It was worth it, because everyone who sees it now knows how awesome of an artist I am.”

This project was influenced by a work of art featured on a reality television show (“Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” aired on the Bravo Network), a trip to a local pet store, and a documentary on the History Channel. After a brainstorming session involving Bryan and his team of four artists, they developed a plan that led to the creation of their elementary masterpiece.

“Lincoln” received High Merit recognition in the Fall 2012 art book, which comes out this May.  To learn more about our national art contests, visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

Don’t Limit Yourself — You’ve Got What You Need!


Last night my daughter, who is in a wheelchair, tried out for the musical Narnia.  We have always taught her that the greatest limitation we have are those that we put upon ourselves.  Will she ever be a dancer?  No. Then again as a 52 year old, non dancer type, I may never be a dancer either. There are many things she will never be able to do.  So she focuses on the things she can do.  These are the things that are the successes in life for her.  She may not get a part, but there is a 100% chance she would NOT get a part if she didn’t audition.  Her list of awards in art, writing, science and history at the school, regional and state level are impressive for a 6th grader. She has not let her handicap hold her back.

I tell her that each of us has our own handicap as none of us can excel at everything.  Some kids may not be as smart as her or as funny.  My mother always felt handicapped when she would have to call me, with my long arms and height, to reach in the back of a shelf to grab a can of food.   But overall, we all start life with similar capabilities.  I have always loved the poem “Equipment” by Edgar A. Guest

Figure it out for yourself, my lad.
You’ve all that the greatest men have had;

Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes.
And a brain to use, if you be wise.
With this equipment they all began.
So start from the top, and say, “I can”.

Look them over, the wise and the great.
They take their food from a common plate.
And similar knives and forks they use.
With similar laces they tie their shoes.

The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill.

You can be great if you only will.

You’re well equipped for what fight you choose;
You have arms and legs and a brain to use.
And the man who has risen great deeds to do.
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face.
You are the one who must choose your place.

You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know.

God has equipped you for life.
But he lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within.
The man must furnish the will to win.

So figure it out yourself, my lad.

You were born with all the great have had.
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself and say “I CAN”!

As humans, we all have the same gifts or equipment.  However, beyond basic equipment, we have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given us.

We can’t sit around and think about things, we must Do.  We must say “I Can.”  Each of us started out the same as all the great ones of the world.  George Washington had two eyes, two feet and a brain.  Same with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and every great person the world has known.  What made them great is what they DID. What we do with the opportunity given to us is our choice. That doesn’t mean just saying “I’m going to do something”, it’s actually doing it.  

I pass this message on to all my students when they are afraid to try something new.  Don’t limit themselves.  For my daughter, she could sit in her wheelchair and think of all the reasons she can’t do some things.  Instead, she thinks of the things she can do. It was risky and scary to try out for a musical when you can’t dance.  But she did not limit herself.  By the way, she got a part.