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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

AAME Announces Winners of Youth Art Competition

Annie Hanlon of Bristol, Va. took Best of Show in the juried art competition sponsored by Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Above is a portrait of Annie's sister Elizabeth and, at left, is a portrait of Lydia Freeman which won Best of Show.
Annie Hanlon of Bristol, Va. took Best of Show in the juried art competition sponsored by Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Above is a portrait of Annie's sister Elizabeth and, at left, is a portrait of Lydia Freeman which won Best of Show.

Portrait of High School Friend Wins "Best in Show'

By DOTTIE HAVLIK | April 28, 2009

Annie Hanlon is a senior homeschool student and the daughter of Carolyn and Tom Hanlon of Bristol, Va. One of Annie's compressed charcoal portraits was awarded Best in Show in the Artistic Excellence juried competition sponsored by Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. The exhibition of 75 high school artists' works was displayed for a month at William King Regional Arts Center in Abingdon, Va.

Annie recently took time to chat with A! Magazine for the Arts:

How did you begin with visual art?
I started at St. Anne's I went there from kindergarten through eighth grade and I had a very good art teacher. That was Paulette Leonard. We always did really fun art projects. I guess that's what got me into art.

What was your favorite when you were younger?
I always liked to draw people. And then, I'd go home and ask my parents to draw me I'm sure they didn't really appreciate that very much....

Who was in the portrait that won Best of Show?
That was one of my best friends, Lydia Freeman. We became friends our freshman year we met through the homeschool co-op [at Celebration Church].

And the other one you entered was your sister.
She's my most frequent model because she's always there. Her name's Elizabeth, but we call her Biz. She's pretty busy, and it kind of got shortened to Biz. I have a brother, John, but he never lets me draw him.

What do you like about drawing people?
I guess...I like to portray who they are in the pictures that I draw. And that's kind of a challenge. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't think I do very well.

Do you study art?
I take art with Carlene Presnell through homeschool. I've done graphite and pastels, and now I'm starting on watercolor. I'm excited to try it. I'm doing an oil painting class at Virginia Intermont College [VI] this semester [with Sam Morrow]; I haven't done that much before.

Are you going to pursue art as a career?
I'm going to major in it when I go to college. I have it narrowed down to three colleges — Emory & Henry, Guilford College, and VI, but I haven't really decided yet.

What are you going to do with your art?
I don't know. I don't think I'd like to teach art. I sort of want to go into special education. I guess I'll probably teach, and then do art on the side.

What about special education appeals to you?
My dad is the director at River's Way [Outdoor Adventure Center], and I've volunteered out there. Usually we work with kids with mental and physical disabilities, and I've always really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd look into it as a career.

Any other hobbies?
I used to ride my horse a lot until this year, and then with senior year it was hard to get out to the barn. I also like to do ballroom dancing; my friends Lydia and Zach and I take class on Thursday night at Ballet Arts Academy [in Bristol]. We have a good time.

Have you ever sold your artwork?
Not really, no. I have to find a summer job, so I've been looking into maybe doing portraits of people. Charcoals — I can do that faster than oil. I really like to draw people, and I think that would be pretty good experience. I like to take pictures, and then I draw from the pictures.

Why do you like painting?
I think painting is relaxing. It's almost like a puzzle, too, figuring out how much paint to put on, and whether to make the color warmer or cooler. One of my instructors said it's always a constant battle between light and dark, thick and thin, warm and cold in a painting. It's trying to find out how to make that happen, and I enjoy that.

Are you trying for realism?
I like to work from pictures. A lot of kids in my class are able to work from their imaginations, and I think that's really cool. But I like to make it fairly realistic, maybe not down to every last detail, but I like it to look real.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I couldn't have done what I've done without my art teachers. They've always been a big influence on me, and I couldn't do what I do without them.

Dottie Havlik is President of the Board of Directors of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire (AAME), and she chairs the AAME's Arts for Youth Committee.

To read more about Annie Hanlon click HERE.


Oil freshman/sophomore
— Julia Buechting Abingdon High

Acrylic freshman/sophomore
Alayna Sutherland Sullivan East
Sarah Brauweiler Tennessee High
McKaila Patton Science Hill

Watercolor freshman/sophomore
Charlotte Olmsted The Academy at King & Homeschool
Natasha Hilt Abingdon High

Pastels freshman/sophomore
— None entered

Pen-Ink-Pencil freshman/sophomore
Chelsea Green Tennessee High
Sarah Brauweiler Tennessee High
Vic Habden Tennessee High