First Place
Sisi Li
Night Escape

I chose the ad about a runaway slave named Nell. In the advertisement, I was surprised by the details about the clothing. The clothing descriptions were even longer than the descriptions of Nell’s appearance. When I went to Philipsburg Manor, I saw an amazing remake of Nell’s outfit from the ad. The gown and the waistcoat, along with the rest of her clothing, really inspired my piece of artwork. The whole process for the painting was long and repetitive. When I first started, I was not exactly sure as to what to do. So I took my pencil and just started sketching. I used pictures that were taken by my art teacher on the trip to Phillipsburg Manor as references. I tried my best to incorporate as much detail on the dress as possible. I used oil paints because they blend very well and make a larger array of colors than acrylic paints. I purposely made her eyes big because I wanted her to be looking at the audience, and I wanted the audience to understand why she is running away by adding fear into her expression. I think the part I enjoyed painting the most was the moon and the sky. With the sky, I mimicked Vincent Van Gogh’s technique in “Starry Night”. The green and yellow glow around the moon makes the sky more interesting. When I first painted the little house in the background, I used pure titanium white. But with the help and advice of my classmates, I dulled the white and added a little blue because many said that the white house would distract the viewer from the main point of the painting. In the end, I am really proud of this particular artwork because I believed that Nell was an amazing woman for daring to escape the cruel chains of slavery. Many of the ads that I read were about male slaves escaping, and only a couple about women. No one ever mentions whether Nell managed to be free or if she got caught and forced back into slavery, but I painted the picture with hope that she had escaped.

2008 Winners

Sisi Li (1)
Lia Rothschild (2)
Gus Boehling (3)
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Dustin Capek (H)
Keith Greenbaum (H)
Kahlilah Shahara Lilley (H)
Micole Woo (H)
Samantha Wilcox (H)
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Dara Illowsky
Yingna Liu
Roman Mendieta
Amanda Murray
Shannon Murray
Ali Simon-Fox
Megan Wachs