Meadowridge News

Natalie X., Grade 11, Awarded Highest Art Achievement Award

After eight months of sitting at an easel every day and painting for hours, Grade 11 Student Natalie X.’s hard work has paid off, naming her this year’s recipient of the Scholastic Art & Writing Award, one of the most prestigious visual and literary awards in North America.

We had the opportunity to learn more about Natalie’s award-winning portrait, Braiding Love, the personal connection she holds to it, and who she is as an artist.

Can you tell us a little bit about Braiding Love?
"As shown in the painting, the theme of this oil painting is a girl braiding her sister’s hair. I gave the painting this name because the act of braiding hair symbolizes the care for a young child and the love between sisters. I have been studying oil painting for five years and I have a traditional aesthetic, of which my favorite art style is realism."

As an artist, where do you draw your inspiration from?
"I'm working on a collection of works about growing up. In this series, I was thinking about how the love given by family members is essential for a child to grow up. As the only child in the family, I longed for companionship and love from siblings. In a sense, this painting symbolizes what I dreamt of when I was growing up. When I was looking for material for this painting, my mom’s friend came back from a trip to Tibet a few years ago and brought back a lot of photos. So, I asked her for a few of them. The reason for choosing Tibetan figures is not only because I like their traditional costumes, but also because ethnic minorities are rarely used as subjects for paintings, which is why I want to spread the culture of Chinese minorities."

How did you discover your love for art?
"My passion for art started in my childhood. I studied traditional Chinese watercolor painting from the age of seven, and then I was introduced to drawing and printmaking. After I came to Canada, I studied mainly oil and acrylics. And my personal project in Grade 10 was about fashion design.

In these processes, I have discovered the beauty of art, which can express people's thoughts in a non-verbal way. Art can reflect the authenticity and profundity of social life, and its artistic images are adapted to some of the same or common attributes of human beings under certain practical conditions, and a good art piece can have an emotional resonance with people. This inspired me to begin using my artwork to record my memories and express my wishes."

What did you learn about yourself through the process of creating this award-winning piece?
"While creating this work, I first learned a lot of artistic skills, such as color-mixing and the proportions of the human face. But more than that, I learned the significance of persistence. There was a period during these eight months when I didn't touch the painting because the difficulties made me lose hope in it. But in the end, I chose to persevere and won the award."

With graduation around the corner next year, do you have any idea of what you want to do after?
"In my future career plan, I am still considering whether I want to be an artist or not. No matter what career I pursue, I will continue my love for art and carry it through to the end."