Ryan McGown (12) discusses artistic process after receiving the Mid-South Scholastic Art Award


Ryan McGown

Ryan McGown’s piece, featured above, wins award from the Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards.

Anna Smith, Reporter

This year St. Mary’s upper school students Grayson Finks (11), Hayden Hedges (11), Mia Townsend (12), Ryan McGown (12), and Virginia Skipworth (10) won Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards.

The Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards is an annual competition that honors exemplary art students in grades 7-12 from all over the Mid-South area. Students who enter this competition can be awarded an honorable mention, a silver key, or gold key.

All gold key pieces were displayed in the Brooks Museum from January 22 to February 20.

Gold key winner Ryan McGown says, “the Brooks is a highly respected art museum in Memphis so to have my piece in an exhibit was really an honor. Also, seeing my art among so many other highly talented students was very humbling.”

McGown won with her digital art piece “Deep Sea Tundras,” a surrealist self-portrait. Because of the many aspects and detailed thinking required for creating digital art, creating “Deep Sea Tundras” was a long and complicated process.

McGown first started with sketching in her sketchbook. Once she was satisfied, she traced the sketch onto the digital art app Procreate then defined and cleaned up the lines. McGown spent countless hours finding the perfect colors, shadows, and lighting.

She was constantly changing her work as she went along, but McGown says, “That’s the cool thing about digital art… you can just edit it and still make it look good.”

This whole process was captured by Procreate and turned into a six-minute time-lapse of the almost twelve hours and 9,481 strokes that went into creating her piece.

In the future, McGown is interested in creating more digital art and plans to major in animation or graphic design in college. She says, though the process was complex, her gold key piece “reassured [a love for digital art] that was already there.”