RU artists display their best work

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There are a lot of talented students at Radford University, and the ones with artistic abilities showed off their best work for all to see.

The RU Art Museum presented the reception for the Student Drawing Show on Tuesday, April 1 in Porterfield Hall.

The exhibit was on display from April 1-11 and admission was free and open to the public.

Participating artists included Kestra Aardema, Andrew Beaver, Jordan Belvins, Thomas Bowman, Alan Brown, Danny Bryan, George Caras, Layla Dobos, Aaron Forrester, Tonya Gardner, Tyler Hutchinson, Joshua Kiser, Courtney Lantz, Nathan Popp, Kristina Seay and Macie Stipes.

There was a wide array of mediums used, from charcoal and graphite to colored pencils and pastels.

The charcoal and graphite drawings show beautiful shading techniques that capture the image and the shadows wonderfully.

Charcoal is a dry art medium that displays very professional-looking black and white images. Graphite uses special drawing tools to create a similar effect to that of charcoal.

The detail that is shown in the work done by our own RU students is amazing.

My favorite piece was a pastel print crafted by Danny Bryan. Pastel is an art medium in the form of colored stick, much like a crayon.

It often shows vibrant colors that are eye catching and really make the art pop off the canvas.

Bryan’s piece that caught my eye was a portrait of Maynard Keenan. Keenan is known for being the frontman for the band Tool.

He used a beautiful light blue shade for the face, which accentuated his facial features and complemented Keenan’s thick-framed black glasses well.

Another one I loved was done by Layla Dobbs, titled “Coffee Still Life.”

It captured a very realistic and simplistic image that one may see when staring down at their desk or coffee table: A coffee mug, a travel mug, and a part of a cellphone.

I thought the art captured the essence of what college students see pretty regularly, since many of us rely on coffee to make it through the day, or to keep us awake when we are cramming for that exam.

While this piece by Dobbs was sketch art done with charcoal, she prefers to use watercolor and acrylic mediums in her work. Her father, who is also an artist, inspired her the most and is also her toughest critic.

RU Professor Feng also inspired her to the point that she switched majors.

“As soon as I took his class I knew I needed to be an art major. He encouraged me so much. I really feel like he is the best mentor ever.”

Dobbs started at RU as a pre-med major, but has since switched to art with a concentration on watercolor.

Artists often have an unusual ability to look at nature and come up with creative ideas in their head that they can then translate to the canvas.

“I love being able to express myself through my artwork. I use a lot of warm colors and a lot of contrast. I like taking ordinary scenes and making them extraordinary whenever possible,” she said.

College is all about finding yourself, and exploring different avenues to figure out who you are, and what you want to be.

Dobbs’ story is a great example of why we students should focus on our passion, not what job or career field we think will make us most prosperous.