Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



A record number of participants in Tualatin's Student Visual Chronicle means more recollections of Tualatin's history

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Markayla Ballard, sophomore, shares a smile while sharing her artwork she's working for the Student Visual Chronicle project in Jeannine Miller's classroom at Tualatin High School.Music by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros plays through speakers at the front of Jeannine Miller’s classroom while students, mostly freshman and sophomores, work quietly. Most of the time, no one talks, but when they do, it’s to ask a question about the piece they’re working on. But mostly, it’s just the sound of pencils on paper, brushes on canvas and soft folk music behind it all.

The students are in one of Miller’s three Drawing II classes at Tualatin High School, and they’re working on projects for the Student Visual Chronicle, a program Miller started in 2006 after the adult Visual Chronicle began 10 years earlier. In the past, around 30 students each year have submitted works of art to the city, all of which depict images from Tualatin. With the art comes a written explanation from each artist as to why they chose their various locations. The city’s Visual Arts Committee then purchases certain pieces to keep and display around town — a sort of working history.

“These are hard paintings. I can’t emphasize how hard they are. There’s a lot of detail, color changes, composition issues,” said Miller. “A lot of the kids have never worked with colored pencil in a ‘painting way,’ and they dove into these options without a lot of background.”

Submissions are up in large numbers from previous years, with about 75 students creating art for the Student Visual Chronicle this year, working in either acrylic, colored pencil or graphite mediums. The upswing in numbers came when Miller turned the project into an assignment rather than an option (though the students still get toTIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jeannine Miller shows sophomore Andrew Robinson, how to use an eraser to smudge a color pencil in Miller's art class at Tualatin High School. decide whether they actually want to submit their pieces or not).

“I really like colors. That kind of sounds stupid, but I do,” said sophomore Markayla Ballard, about her colored pencil piece. “So that’s why I did this in black and white, and then just this (in color), because that was kind of the only colorful thing in the picture.”

Ballard, 15, combined a project for a photography class with the Student Visual Chronicle, and is recreating a photo she took of her friend. In the background is a white sky and grey trees, and a bright blue graffiti wall. Ballard said she chose this location because she loves graffiti art, but it’s scarce in town except for this one spot near old, abandoned train tracks.

Though the graffiti drew her to this specific location, the focus of her piece is a monochromatic depiction of her friend and fellow TuHS sophomore laughing with his face tilted down. Well, his face would be tilted down if Ballard had started that part of her drawing yet.

“I’ve never really drawn stuff like this before, so this is a first,” she said, noting that, aside from drawing her friend’s face, the piece is nearly complete. “I feel like if I do it on a separate piece of paper to try and see what it’s gonna look like, it’s gonna look really good, and then I’m gonna be like, ‘OK. Now what?’ So I don’t know. I’m going to be cutting it out and gluing it.”

Ballard laughed, slightly perplexed by her artistic predicament, yet seemingly not worried about it at all. In a class full of underclassmen, this theme appeared common — trying something new, not entirely knowing how to do it, but creating art anyway.

“I’m kind of bad at painting, so I just wanted to try something new. If you mess up, you can just go over it,” said freshman Dillon Thompson as he worked on an acrylic painting of the TuHS football field. “I like football and me and my friends do football after school sometimes. I just like the ‘T’s right in front of the football field so I took a picture of that.”

Having received an art set for Christmas, Thompson has been taking his painting home to work on after school and said that it’s turning out how he hoped it would, even though it’s the largest and most detailed painting he’s ever created. Sophomore Nayeli Naranjo-Robles is working on a piece outside of her usual comfort zone, too, and is exploring her first time working with colored pencils. TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Nayeli Naranjo-Robles, sophomore, works on her Student Visual Chronicle project of a mastodon in Jeannine Miller's classroom at Tualatin High School.

“I’m mostly done. I just want to add more details to make it look more like the picture because I feel like some areas are not as dark as in the picture, but I think I’m very close,” the 15-year-old said, before discussing her reasons for working in colored pencil. “I felt like I wouldn’t have enough time to do a painting. There’s a lot of detail in this, and I knew I would stress myself out too much.”

Naranjo-Robles is recreating a photo she took of the mastodon statue in front of Nyberg Rivers. She lives within walking distance of the shopping center and went over after school and theater rehearsal one night to tangibly capture the image she had in her head.

“I was looking at different angles, then I crouched down and took the picture,” she said. “I felt silly doing that because I felt like people were staring at me, but it’s like, ‘Whatever.’”

In the photo she’s been drawing from, Naranjo-Robles was able to capture the bonfire that had brought her to the location at night, the mastodon and the little boy in the statue. Capturing this image was important, she said, because it’s a new element to the city and ties in with Tualatin’s history.

“A lot of people think that if you aren’t good at (art) right away, you can’t do it, but that’s not how it is. You work at it, you become better,” said Naranjo-Robles. “You can’t make a masterpiece or something realistic first try. It takes hours and hours and hours of practice.”

By the end of it all, the students will have worked on their pieces for about a month, completing them by April 3 in time for a May art show. Miller said the show’s location is pending; because of the increased volume of art, they’ve outgrown their previous venues at the Tualatin Public Library and Heritage Center. But it’s a good problem to have.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much art affects us,” said Naranjo-Robles. “It’s everywhere.”TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Emily Lewelling, sophomore, works on her Student Visual Chronicle project in Jeannine Miller's classroom at Tualatin High School. The drawing is based on a picture she took on her cellphone of Tualatin- Sherwood Road.

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