Blakey Prize in Fine Art | See the Winners

The ACCS national visual arts competition. For ACCS accredited schools.
Blakey prize logo Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)

High school students (grades 9–12) from ACCS accredited schools will compete with their peers from other ACCS-accredited schools in a national visual arts competition. Each school may enter one student’s artwork in the drawing category and one student’s artwork in the painting category.

Note: Schools may enter the same student in both categories; however, different artwork is required for each category.

  • Grand Prize: $500 | Runner Up: $250
  • Awarded at End of School Year
  • Submission Deadline: April 13, 2018
  • To enter, your school can provide submission materials. A school signature is required.
  • Member schools can find more information in the Member Resource Center.

Blakey Prize in Fine Art Winners

2017

Peeling the AppleDrawing: First Prize“Peeling the Apple”Gadi Edwards, Logos School (Moscow, ID) 14″ x 17″, graphite on paper“My mother was showing me drawings she did in art school. I was highly influenced by the black and white she did that were simple but still very powerful. That’s what inspired this drawing the most. I wanted to create something atmospheric and simple; charcoal worked perfectly for it.”

LoyaltyDrawing: Second Prize“Loyalty”Ethan Miller, Cary Christian School (Cary, NC) 9″ x 12″, colored pencil“The classical artist that influenced my artwork is Peter Paul Rubens. His realistic, expressive interpretations of lions in “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” inspired the realistic illustration of my loyal dog. I strove to capture the immense detail of each strand of fur as well as the expression of loyalty I see in my dog’s face every day.”

PraisePainting: First Prize“Praise”Emma Hankins, Evangel Classical Christian School (Alabaster, AL) 16″ x 20″, oil on panel“My painting “Praise” is in celebration of present day mission work and is inspired by both Christian and portrait paintings created in the fifteenth century by early Flemish painter, Jan van Eyck. In my painting, I tried to capture van Eyck’s detailed style of portraiture by working in layers, the same way he painted many of his works. My painting portrays a young man by the name of Bheki Motsa praising God on the mission field in Swaziland, where my fifth grade teacher and her family, whose work in missions also inspired the content of my painting, lived for several years. I believe Christian artists can use their gifts in many ways to glorify God. Capturing worship through painting is a great place to start.”

UnwrappedPainting: Second Prize“Unwrapped”Jeremy Crawford, Rockbridge Academy (Millersville, MD) 16″ x 20″, acrylic on canvas“In painting class, we were instructed paint a still life through the lens of contemporary realism. I was immediately drawn to the color and joy presented by these Tootsie Pops. I loved the reflection the lollipops had on the jar and the bright but unique color each lollipop gave off. When I was painting, I couldn’t help but notice how happy the painting was—it gave off such innocent joy and there was a bit of an inherent sense of story in the unwrapped yet unfinished candy sitting by itself. I have been greatly influenced by the contemporary still lifes of Michael Naples, as well as by the work of 18th c. French painter, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. I love how they each use light to navigate the observer through their paintings. Moreover, both have a clever and ingenious way of producing life and a story through ordinary objects. In the same way, I strive to make my artwork more than just paint on a canvas, but a story worth telling, so that, even by means of a favorite childhood candy, my observer might feel moved, intrigued, and delighted.”

Drawing Finalists: “Left Alone,” Wren Lovett, Annapolis Christian Academy (Corpus Christi, TX); “Margaret,” Amber Nissley, Veritas Academy (Leola, PA) Painting Finalists: “To Find a Home,” Megan Salesman, Veritas Academy (Leola, PA); “Facing the Sun,” Megan Sheets, Cedar Tree Classical School (Vancouver, WA)

2016

To Have and To Hold Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Drawing: First Prize“To Have and To Hold”Emily Jordan, Westminster Academy (Memphis, TN) 20″ x 14″, graphite on paper“This piece is a graphite representation of a photography that I took of my grandparents. First and foremost, it was inspired by the subjects themselves, who have consistently demonstrated through their lives and character what it means to live and grow in love and virtue with the Lord and with one another. The concept employed within my reference photograph was drawn from the work of the Italian photographer, Gianfranco Meloni, whose unique and move portraiture is well suited to my own artistic style.”

Joy Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Drawing: Second Prize“Joy”Lia VanderPloeg, Cedar Tree Classical School (Vancouver, WA) 14″ x 11″, graphite on paper“This piece is drawn with graphite pencil. It, and all my portraits, are inspired by Michelangelo’s sculptures, but more specifically, their faces. Through art and art history classes, I’ve been drawn to the amazing accuracy of proportion and expression in his sculptures. Because his sculptures have no color—only value—they reminded me of graphite sketches. This particular piece incorporates variety in value, unusual facial expression and angle, just as seen in Michelangelo’s sculptures.”

Composition in Light Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Painting: First Prize“Composition in Light”Heather Thompson, Evangel Classical Christian School (Alabaster, AL) 14″ x 18″, oil on panel“I composed my piece as part of a seven-month master study in Flemish oil painting. Painting this still life of a cow and deer skull using Flemish technique involved three distinct layers. By using repeated layers of paint and a series of thin oil glazes, Flemish painting aims at a high degree of detail and realism while maintaining smoothness and subtlety. I have endeavored to capture the elegant structure of God’s design within these creatures.”

A Walk in Fredericksburg Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Painting: Second Prize“A Walk in Fredericksburg”Samantha Wilmot, Annapolis Christian Academy (Corpus Christi, TX) 22″ x 18″, watercolor on paper“Walking around Fredericksburg, I came across this staircase and was immediately drawn to the charm. My painting technique was influenced heavily by John Singer Sargent’s vibrant colors and the blurring of hard and soft edges he used often in his watercolor paintings. The wall, too, has an assortment of bright color, but underneath lies a unifying blue-brown tone that lends coherence to the painting, modeled after Sargent’s technique when painting non-human subjects.”

Drawing Finalist: “Floral Study,” Kialynn Palpant, The Oaks: A Classical Christian Academy (Spokane, WA) Painting Finalist: Summer Lemonade,” Emma Feeney, Rockbridge Academy (Millersville, MD)

2015

 Afield Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Drawing: First Prize “Afield” Drew Griffith Rockbridge Academy, Millersville, MD“My drawing represents a desire in my work to portray realism and accuracy like that of modern artists such as JD Hilberry, whose amazing graphite works I wanted to emulate. Our art teacher showed me how such contemporary work was rooted in the artists of the Realism movement of the 19th century, who sought to depict their subjects with an unvarnished truth and clarity. Later artists, such as 20th century realist Edward Hopper, continued in this tradition while emphasizing strongly defined lighting and mood. Hopper’s work often has a sense of eerie stillness, a mood which I also tried to create by framing the lonely figure in the composition and by using strong value contrasts. In previous projects, imitations of pointillist technique modeled after Georges Seurat disciplined me to observe how carefully planned moves of shade and shadow can bring even greater realism to my work, regardless of the medium.”

Happy Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Drawing: Second Prize “Happy” Gresham Bergeron St. Stephen’s Academy, Beaverton, OR“Artists are often drawn to styles and techniques employed by master artists in their previous work. The inspiration for my pencil drawing of an old man came from the work of Andrew Wyeth. Andrew Wyeth’s works are mostly scenes of everyday life, especially of country and farm life. He also painted and drew many portraits of individual people. I especially admire his use of low lighting to bring out highlights in the subjects of his painting. His attention to detail is quite remarkable, and his portraits not only capture the features of the people being painted, but also their expressions at the time they were drawn. I tried to replicate this in my drawing, using the man’s hard, glassy eyes and wide smile to show him in a moment of sudden happiness. Also, I believe some of Wyeth’s attention to detail comes through in the wrinkles and individual hairs on the old man’s face. Wyeth was a painstaking artist, and his work has influenced my own style.”

Swimming at Dawn Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Painting: First Prize “Swimming at Dawn” Madison Mier St. Stephen’s Academy, Beaverton, OR“This piece was influenced by the artist who created the designs for the federal duck stamp hunting license which began in 1934. While no particular artist influenced the style of this piece individually, it was intended that it would portray a moment in time, capturing waterfowl in its natural habitat, as if it were a photograph. Using a reference photo composed by Tim Bernard, a Northwest Wildlife photographer who gave me reference photos to use for this project, this acrylic painting works to establish a desire to conserve the creation God has provided for us.”

Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS)Painting: Second Prize “Ponte Santa Trinita, Florence” Jay Wallen Rockbridge Academy, Millersville, MD“After an amazing trip to Europe, I wanted to capture something of the mood and feel of some of my adventures, in the manner of the great American watercolor artist John Singer Sargent. I admire the way he used color and clarity to indicate the focal point of his pictures, although his style is much looser than my own. I used a more exact style of watercolor painting to communicate the beautiful structural detail of the buildings and the bridge while retaining a certain smooth and transparent feel overall. However, like Sargent, who painted beautiful scenes during his own European travels, I also wanted to capture something of the warmth and color of the light on the buildings of Florence, using a variety of my own photographs for reference.”

Note: Each student must submit a written statement that identifies the artist(s) who have influenced their painting and how this is reflected in their own work.