ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
No one was more surprised about Sheri Volkman’s art talent than Volkman herself.
“This is my first year in art,” said Volkman, a sophomore at Canton-Galva High School. “I had a little art in junior high, but I had no idea I had any skill.”
It was almost by happenstance that Volkman discovered her talent.
“I had some extra time in my schedule, and it was either this or PE,” she said with a laugh.
Art won out, and with some formal art education, Volkman’s skills have blossomed.
“As far as hand skills, I think she is the finest artist the school has,” said Canton-Galva art teacher Mark Martens. “She can do anything she wants to do. She just has that ability.”
Volkman credits Martens with recognizing her talent and teaching her to use it in new ways.
“Mr. M really pushes us,” she said. “I think he gets the best out of us.”
Martens is quick to point out that art education involves much more than simply learning to draw.
“It incorporates science, math, technology-it is broad based,” he said. “It’s all about expression and problem solving.”
Sparking students’ minds as well as their hands is one of the goals of his art curriculum.
As part of a daily creativity exercise, he writes a phrase on the board, and students interpret the words in art.
“Sheri is wonderful at doing that,” he said. “She thinks about layers and value shifts, textures and all the elements and principles of design.”
Volkman said the art class has opened her eyes to new mediums and techniques.
“With Mr. Martens, you have to keep an open mind,” she said. “He throws a lot of different stuff at you. You just have to try it.
“We are learning about pop art right now-like Andy Warhol,” she added.
Volkman said students were asked to choose a pop icon and draw six pictures using variations in light and color. She selected Christina Aguilera.
“We’re learning how to mix tints and shades,” she said. “You really have to think sometimes-it gets kind of tricky.”
Volkman said the class tackles a new project every couple weeks, and she likes the variety.
She described a gingerbread house she created in class using candy and frosting.
“I made a Hawaiian beach house-it was the centerpiece at our family holiday gathering and then my dog ate it,” she said with a laugh.
Volkman said the art class has not only taught her new techniques but has helped her refine her skills.
“You learn what you should do and what you shouldn’t do,” she said.
Volkman said she generally likes to draw with pencil.
“You can shade-and you can erase,” she said.
Volkman recently became more interested in watercolor when a watercolor project turned out especially well.
“I never got tired of it. I worked on it to the best of my ability to the end. It was something new every day.”
Volkman said people are often the subject of her art.
“They are so fun because of all the detail,” she said. “I think you try harder if the subject interests you.”
Volkman said after high school she plans to study to become a certified public accountant.
With a heavy load of business courses ahead of her, she is concerned about finding time for advanced art classes next year.
No doubt Martens will be happy to help her squeeze them into her schedule.