Students’ art gleams in West Gallery

The West Gallery in the Campus Center displays “You Are A Light,” a collection of work created by students in the Life Drawing and Painting classes. The show is free and runs through May 24. / photo by Katelyn Keeling
The West Gallery in the Campus Center displays “You Are A Light,” a collection of work created by students in the Life Drawing and Painting classes. The show is free and runs through May 24. / photo by Katelyn Keeling

Erica Rae Sanchez
Arts Editor

Seven students enrolled in the Life Drawing and Painting classes have displayed their work of paintings and life drawings in an exhibit titled, “You Are A Light,” in the West Gallery, located in the Campus Center.

The art displayed ranged from line drawings of women and their bodies to abstract paintings that were primarily blue.

“I wanted to combine two different classes, one that is abstract painting and one that is representational drawing because I think it is important to put opposites together to find a way of looking at things differently,” said Dion Johnson, director of art galleries.

The selection for the artwork was executed by Ruth Trotter, professor of art, and Johnson.

“I started with the drawings that she submitted and then I selected from what she selected, through the process of distillation based on those drawings I selected three paintings that went with them,” said Johnson.

Karen Cruz, senior rhetoric communications major, had her drawing displayed in the exhibit.

The picture she drew was a portrait of a woman covering her upper part of her chest, she had a shaded in afro, and the majority of the image was connected together with minimal lines.

“The assignment was to draw the model with a minimum of 10 lines or less and I have seen other artists on Instagram and Snapchat doing amazing renditions of faces using one continuous line and that is what I was trying to do, but make it mine,” said Cruz.

“Mentally I wanted to make sure that every line, curve, twist and turn had a purpose.”

This was the first time that Cruz had taken an art class where she was allowed the freedom to draw what she wanted. The support from her family and friends further boosted her confidence, she said.

Cruz said she was happy that her work was placed in the gallery because of the honor and praise she has received, even from people she does not know.

Taylor Griffith, senior photography major, painted a blue, black and white abstract piece made of acrylic paint layered with matte medium and water.

His painting belonged to a series of other paintings that had the same theme of an abstract of material, creating the feeling of space or a memory, said Griffith.

“The piece that is hanging up there, it was the feeling of being deep in the ocean,” said Griffith.

Griffith got the idea for his painting after he went on a trip in a submarine, and captured the feeling of being deep underwater with the muted colors and fleeting flashes of light.

“The ocean is something that has always influenced my style, but that memory was my catalyst of being that deep in the ocean. It was in response to that memory but also looking at how that experience changed me,” said Griffith. “That was the direct inspiration for [the] painting, but overall the series comes from a place of different memories.”

Marissa Reyes, senior studio art major, developed her art through Bonita, a model who had come into her class. She had drawn Bonita standing with her hand on her hip, leaning on a table.

“The model was live and nude and in front of you, so I started breaking down the different components of the body,” said Reyes. “I start with a basic line of the gesture and then I built from that.”

Reyes has been a figure drawing artist her whole life, she said.

“Whenever I am confronted with a live person, the most challenging part of drawing them is always getting their personality and their facial features accurate,” said Reyes.

Johnson said he was proud of what the students create, and wants to take every opportunity possible to showcase their talents for everyone at the University to see.

This exhibit will run in the West Gallery until May 24.

Erica Rae Sanchez can be reached at

Katelyn Keeling

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