Western Wayne Art Students Recognized in Artist of the Month Contest

Pictured are Western Wayne Art Students who have been recognized this year by the Scranton Times in their Artist of the Month Contest. From left: Irene Sheehan, Cori Talarico, Abigail Lopez, and Noelle Cruz.

Western Wayne High School had four seniors recognized as winners of the Artist of the Month Contest for this year by the Scranton Times: Cori Talarico, March; Irene Sheehan, June; Noelle Cruz, August; and Abigail Lopez, November.
In these stressful times, Cori Talarico’s Times submission will be sure to have a calming effect on all those who take in its beauty.
“The piece I entered is a very serene landscape of a lake,” she explained. “I really like this piece because it is filled with cool colors that make it very calming to look at. Working on this painting provided an outlet to free my mind from everything that has been going on in the world recently. I really enjoy doing landscapes that highlight the beauty of nature. I am often inspired by nature in our living area for my landscapes.”
Cori has been drawing since she was two and painting since she was about four. She has taken art classes throughout middle and high school at Western Wayne. Currently, she is in three different art classes.
“My favorite medium to use is acrylic paint,” Cori said. “You have a lot more creative freedom with it since you can always paint over messy areas or mix different colors to make the one you need. I always do fine details in colored pencil on top of acrylic paint, because the colored pencil adds more vibrancy to the painting.”
After graduation, Cori plans to take a gap year to focus on herself and what she wishes to pursue. She knows art will always be her favorite hobby, and she thinks it could be involved in her future career. Cori values the importance of art to her life.
“Art provides an escape from stressful situations in life. Whether it is sketching, drawing, painting, or sculpting. Art is something that I have complete control over when everything else in my life is turbulent and changing,” Cori explained. “It gives me piece of mind as I am able to be as creative as I’d like to be.”
Fellow senior Abigail Lopez also loves the creativity involved in being an artist. Abby has been drawing and doodling since elementary school. She also has been teaching herself different coloring and shading techniques since she was young.
Her favorite medium to use is digital.
“I can always do digital art as long as I have my tablet or phone and don’t need to keep buying supplies and fearing running out of said supplies, which is always a win,” Abby explained. “It also makes it easier for me to fix mistakes that would usually discourage me from even wanting to continue a project.”
The piece Abby submitted to the Times is a work-in-progress digital piece. It depicts a character from an ongoing “series” online called the Dream SMP.
Abby, who plans to attend Mansfield University for Digital Design, explained her work process for her digital art.
“I actually don’t have a theme for my projects,” Abby explained. “I really like just creating whatever inspires me or motivates me at the time. Whenever I’m making digital art, I’m more likely to draw fanart or original characters. I love that you can create scenes out of such simple things. You can take a scene from a low-poly video game and turn it into so much more or just take a concept in your mind and bring it to life.”
Another Western Wayne art student who has been excited about bringing her art to life this year is Noelle Cruz. Noelle has taken Studio Art every year throughout high school. She hopes to create a senior display for the art show and knows she will focus on bright multi-colored depictions of nature for it.
“My favorite medium recently is colored pencil. It takes longer, but I can be more precise with my drawing which allows for more detailed artwork. I like how realistic I can make something look with the more time I put into the piece,” Noelle said.
She further described a favorite realistic piece she created this year.
“My favorite piece that I’ve worked on this year is my colored pencil drawing of a jellyfish. I love how vibrant the colors are on the black paper as if it’s glowing,” Noelle explained.
In the future, Noelle plans to attend Pennsylvania College of Technology for a bachelor’s in dental hygiene. She is also interested in joining creative clubs and in taking digital art classes in college because she has never experimented with digital mediums before.
Noelle is excited to continue to develop her creative abilities even after high school.
“What I enjoy most about creating art is the freedom it allows my creative mind to have,” Noelle explained. “I sketch something simple that came across my mind and a week later that image in my head is now full of life for others to see on the canvas in front of me.”
Fellow senior Irene Sheehan, like Noelle, plans to continue art as a hobby in the future.
She explained that acrylic is her favorite medium to create with.
“You can layer it, so it’s fun to do more impressionistic pieces that way,” she explained.
The artwork Irene created for the Times is a picture of a fairground.
Irene explained the peace she finds in developing her art.
“It’s calming to me,” Irene said. “In my time at Western Wayne, I have learned a lot about technique, and I now have the ability to overcome, less anxiously, the barrier of having a blank piece of paper in front of me when beginning the creative process.”
Irene looks forward to studying music and psychology after graduation.
Western Wayne faculty, staff, and administration are proud of the accomplishments of these aspiring young artists and encourage the community to look for their work in the Scranton Times to celebrate their accomplishments.

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