Painting Personal Growth

Painting Personal Growth

By Sonya Chwyl

"I think all of us have stayed up into the wee hours of the morn, doing what had to be done," says Izzy Moyer as she hangs up another painting. It's not quite level; she frowns and readjusts it. Beside her in the lower lobby of the Denford Hall, fellow Grade 12 artists Rachel Diment and Nolan Smith are busy arranging their own collection of pieces in preparation for their final IB art exhibit.

The culmination of their high school art careers, the show represents two years' worth of work - "blood, sweat and tears," according to Izzy. Now on the homestretch, all three artists are looking forward to being finished.

"This is like art bootcamp," says Rachel of the sheer volume of pieces they've produced during their time in the course. "You can't really not get better."

Of course, a big part of the work isn't just painting or sculpting, but the planning that precedes it. The process is intensive, but the effort they've put in shows: their final exhibit showcases a wide range of colours, styles and mediums, featuring pieces big and small; minimal and complex.

"There are some pieces this year that I really don't like," admits Rachel. "But overall I feel like it has gotten better. Or like, more settled - my stuff became a lot more consistent."

For her section of the exhibit, Rachel has chosen pieces featuring soft pastels, florals, and a precise use of whitespace that highlights the human form.

Nolan's work offers an interesting contrast, featuring bold line work and surreal cartoon landscapes. He also draws on a street art style for his larger mixed media pieces, including one Banksy-esque stencil.

"The spray paint looks like the most basic, but the stencil was pretty annoying to work with," Nolan says. "It was a learning experience, because if you do it too close, it bleeds."

Because their IB art class is so small, the three artists have formed a unique bond. "It's nice that we have each other to commiserate with," says Izzy with a wry smile. Her artwork is intensely personal, exploring themes of growth and mental health through bold colours and metaphorical imagery.

When viewed together, all three collections offer a unique view into all three artists' growth over their final two years at GNS. And while they're not sure how big of a part of their careers art will be in the future, they all plan to continue pursuing art in their free time.

You can see this years' IB art exhibit in the lower lobby of the Denford Hall.

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