As the Chinese New Year approached, Ojai Valley School sophomore Wendy Lazo-Dowdy could be found hard at work in art room, laboring diligently on her latest masterpiece, a painting of a rooster in honor of the Chinese New Year.
Eyes focused on each individual feather she painted, she filled the once-blank canvas with bright, beautiful color.
This bold, beautiful painting was the winning design for Ojai Valley School’s annual Chinese New Year postcard competition.
Each year, OVS celebrates the holiday, known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, by sending postcards to Chinese families. For the past four years, the school has held a competition to choose the cover art for the postcards. To participate, art students from both the Upper and Lower campuses can submit their work in hopes of being chosen.
Wendy, a second-year art student, decided to take a new approach to this year’s competition. Known for her detailed, intricate designs, Wendy chose a design that was more refined, yet still festive.
“I thought I would go simple and realistic,” she said. “And I used watercolors because that’s the medium I’m good at.”
Tracy Wilson, OVS’ director of advancement and admission, coordinated the physical and digital greeting cards as a way to connect with international families.
“We thought we should recognize Chinese New Year, as this is such an important event for many of our students and their families,” Ms. Wilson said.
While the physical postcards are only sent to Chinese families, the e-versions are sent all over the world, to more than 3,000 people. OVS currently has students representing 12 countries: Mexico, Russia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Italy, and the United States.
“It’s so crazy that something I made will be all over the world,” Wendy said. “It doesn’t feel real to me.”
Although these postcards are made to celebrate the heritage of many OVS families, they are also a great way to showcase the talents of art students from both campuses. Wendy is now one of the few students whose art has been on display in this manner.
In previous years, students from both campuses have been picked. Ellen Liu, who graduated in 2014 and now attends Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design, had her design picked for the Year of the Snake. The following year, the Year of the Horse, featured a design by lower student Bella Slosberg. In 2016, Year of the Horse, Misaki Kobayashi’s painting was chosen.
“Artistic quality is key, as well as how well the theme is incorporated into the design,” Ms. Wilson said. “We’ve had superb representations of the various animals represented for the year of the monkey, snake, rooster and horse.”
Each year, a committee convenes to choose the cover art, and this year, Wendy’s painting stood out.
“Wendy’s design impressed the committee with its dramatic use of color, and the detail, especially on the tail feathers,” Ms. Wilson said. “Everyone loved it.”
The members of the committee weren’t the only ones to recognize Wendy’s talent. Upper Campus art teacher Chia Hersk enjoyed the painting, as it was perfect representation of Wendy’s art ability.
“She did a really good job with the watercolor,” Ms. Hersk said. “She’s amazing with it.”
When Wendy found out her design was selected, she was pleasantly surprised.
“It’s cool, and I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Wendy said. “To have yours be the best out of the most experienced students is really exciting.”Share