Snowy gray mountains sit in the background of the painting. In front of them is a grassy hill, sitting on the shore of the lake. The lake reflects the mountains and hills, its water rippling in the bottom left corner of the piece. This painting is the work of Claire Kolman, 12, done with acrylic paint and modeled after a photo she took in Alaska.
Kolman’s art is mostly done on 2D mediums. To create the art, she usually uses acrylics and drawing pencils, but she has also started to incorporate ink into her work. She makes this type of art because painting gives her the opportunity to utilise and get creative with many different colors, which is quite relaxing to Kolman. Since the pandemic, she has also been art journaling.
“I have always been into arts and crafts ever since I was little, but I got serious about it in middle school and high school when I developed my own style,” explained Kolman. “I used to sketch out characters and make up stories about them with my friends when I was younger.”
At Westfield, Kolman has taken art all four years. She has taken Studio Art 1-3 her first three years, and this year, she is taking both Studio Art 4 and AP Studio Art. Throughout her duration at the school, she has been taught by all three art teachers, which Kolman appreciates, as it gave her the experience of learning the same type of art from three different styles. Additionally, she is a board member for Westfield’s National Art Honor Society. This year, Kolman will also be participating in the annual art show.
“Fun fact, I actually had a painting that I did in first grade in the Westfield pyramid art show. Now I’ve come full circle and will have my own booth this year!” she remarked.
Kolman’s art is versatile, not sticking to any common theme, which has made it difficult for her to choose a topic for sustained investigation in AP Art this year. Additionally, the artwork Kolman creates for school is often outside of her comfort zone, which she believes has aided immensely in her own development as an artist. When creating art, if not from other artists online and through social media, Kolman draws inspiration from nature.
“Even though I can get very high stress about my projects sometimes, art has been a great outlet for my creative side. It also has helped me get through some injuries when I couldn’t play sports and all I could do was art,” expressed Kolman.
Art bleeds into all aspects of Kolman’s life. She works at Clay Cafe, where people can create and paint pottery as well as take a host of art classes that span multiple art types. Kolman first visited Clay Cafe for her birthday sophomore year and loved it. When she found out they were hiring, she applied, and she has been working there for over a year and a half.
Due to her work at Clay Cafe, Kolman is interested in learning pottery as well: “I haven’t really taken 3D art, but we have classes for it [at Clay Cafe], so I’ve seen the classes and some of my coworkers doing it on their own, and it looks so fun! The videos of people throwing it on the wheel are also really satisfying.”
Outside of artwork, Kolman is a stellar student at Westfield. In addition to Art Honor Society, she is a member of Math Honor Society and volunteers at a hospital in her free time. Additionally, Kolman plays for the Varsity Girls’ Basketball team, and has played basketball at Westfield since her freshman year. As a person, Kolman would describe herself as both creative and a perfectionist.
Looking to the future, Kolman is undecided on what she would like to major in in college, but she is considering education. While she does not currently want to pursue art as a career, she will certainly continue creating art as a hobby and might even minor in it.
Kolman has used art to help her throughout her life, and she believes that engaging in and creating art can do the same to others: “I think art can be very therapeutic if you allow it to be. If you can set aside any expectations or notions about what it should look like and you just create, it can be a great release for stress and other emotions. You don’t have to show it to anyone or even have it be a finished piece, but in my experience experimenting with colors and materials is a great way to destress.”