The art of self direction … |

The art of self direction …

Shauna Farnell
AE BM Art Show1 BH 4-15

AVON -The emotions of teenage art students manifest in many ways – a google-eyed red horse, a girl wearing a blindfold, a boy slumping on a soccer field with his head between his knees.The array of feeling from Battle Mountain High School’s art students is on display at the Avon Public Library through April 28.

“Sometimes they’re interested in communicating emotions,” said Battle Mountains Bonnie Franklin, who along with colleague Bernell Bannon, teaches the art programs at the high school. “They still surprise me after all these years,” Franklin said of the work the students produce. “Some are very thoughtful. They get their inspiration from unusual places, from unusual situations in their lives.”The mediums on display at the library range from drawing, painting and photography to scratchboard pieces and jewelry. There are a handful of seniors who are advanced placement art students preparing their portfolios in hopes of getting into art school. Some of their work is also displayed at the library, but the levels of artists range from beginner to advanced. There are no fine art requirements at the high school, thus all students decide to take art classes through their own volition.

“Some elect for different reasons,” Franklin said. “There’s a whole gamut of motivation and skills. But they all seem to progress and surprise themselves.”Franklin and Bernell coach the first-year art students with narrow guidelines as to their subject matter, whereas the AP students are given fairly free reign on their choice of medium and subject.”In the beginning, there are guidelines galore,” Franklin said. “As they move up, it’s a directed effort on my part. They find the more difficult part is knowing what they want. I’ve become pretty good at asking them questions.”As far as communicating emotions, sometimes Battle Mountain art students are given instruction to take one subject and render it with emotion, then attempt to view the same thing and create an art piece in what Franklin describes as an “intellectual, emotionally reserved way.”

She said she tries to help the students let their art to speak for itself.One student wanted to paint a picture of a pony ride horse, and Franklin asked the student a series of questions as to what she wanted to portray.”It was a piece on the pony that has to walk in a circle all day long,” Franklin said. “She started it like you might expect – with a sign in a background for pony rides. Through questioning – what you want to communicate? How much of this is doing the job? Do you want to smack (viewers) in the face with it? Students go from being heavily directed to self-directed.”

The Battle Mountain High School art show will be on display at the Avon Public Library through April 28.Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or

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