Edwardsburg student takes top spot in Buchanan Art Center exhibit

Published 10:04 am Thursday, April 25, 2019

BUCHANAN — From cookies and canvas painter to first-place winning artist, Edwardsburg High School senior Sydney O’Brien has been on an art-fueled adventure throughout her lifetime.

The 18-year-old’s acrylic painting, “Crested Gecko,” which depicts her pet gecko, Triton, landed the top spot in the high school division during the Buchanan Art Center’s Tri-County High School and Middle School Art Exhibit competition. O’Brien was recognized for her award during a reception earlier this month at the Buchanan Art Center.

Having always been crafty, and artistic, O’Brien said she really had not painted before her mom took her to a cookies and canvas event — similar to a wine-and-canvas painting class, but aimed toward children — which got her hooked on painting.

“I do a bit of everything, drawings, and ceramics,” the teen artist said. “As long as I can remember, I have always been drawing and doodling.”

Practice made perfect for O’Brien and her painting skills.

“The more you practice and the more you love doing that artwork, the better it will be,” she said.

The gecko painting was not her first choice for entry. She had been working on a dragon to enter into the contest, but changed her mind when she finished her piece, made entirely with a sponge on canvas. Except for the fine lines around the eyes of the gecko, O’Brien said the rest was done with sponge work.

“I am told my things are better than others, but everyone’s work is special in its own way and beautiful in its own way,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien has entered other contests and also tied for third place in the Buchanan Art Center exhibit with another entry. A self-described lover of all art, she thinks everyone should enter competitions whenever they can.

“As long as you love it, you should enter,” O’Brien said.

In all, $500 in awards, sponsored by Dr. Richard and Cindy Beckermeyer of Niles, were disbursed for this exhibition, said Executive Director of the Buchanan Art Center Danielle Wilborn. 

“We look forward to the high school, and middle school, exhibit each year,” Wilborn said, “the caliber of work, and the content is phenomenal.”

Winners were judged by two independent local artists, Claire Hoineville and Sue Coultas. The entries were judged on technical skills, originality in concept and expression, Wilborn said.

Winning entries for the High School division, included:

• First place – Sydney Obrien, “Crested Gecko,” Edwardsburg High School

• Second place – Phoebe Steinke, “Feline Selfie,” Eau Claire High School

• Second Place – Leo Rosales, “Trench,” Edwardsburg High School

• Third Place – Meagan Platz, “Red Roses,” Brandywine High School

• Third Place – Sydney O’Brien, “Dovahgolz” Edwardsburg High School

• Third Place – Lexie Ziebarth, “Purple Pride,” Waterstreet GW

Honorable Mention(s)

• Devin Robbins, “Deer,” Independent

• Nicola McCllen, “Maury Poppins,” Buchanan High School

• Antwon Johnson, “The Water Wave,” Waterstreet GW

Other entries received from Edwardsburg High School students: Harleigh Besau, Marie Gruver, Nimuae Smith, Emileigh Paulus, Jack Leman, Sam Papczynski, Ryleigh Litty, Katie Welsch, Becca Harr, Laura Mikel and Dacey Divane.