HUNTSVILLE – A whimsical decision to enter an art contest led to unexpected recognition for a local high school student.
Jessica Kaercher learned of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Kids’ Fish Art Contest through her boyfriend, who was reading through the magazine and encouraged her to enter.
“I figured I’ve got nothing to lose so I might as well,” said Kaercher.
Contestants had the choice of painting a Chinook salmon or a longnose gar.
“I think Chinook salmons are a lot more attractive looking than longnose gars,” she said. “And I noticed all the contestants from last year, their fish were always just straight across, horizontal swimming and so I wanted to do an action shot, so I put that together.”
Along with the action, the muted colours used in Kaercher’s acrylic and fine liner painting draw in the eyes.
The finished 8x10 painting took her about 30 minutes to create. And when she received her painting blown up to 30x36, as the winner for her age category, she was pleased with her work.
“It looks a lot better,” she said with a laugh.
The Grade 12 student has always had a love of art. “My mom was an artist so she kind of brought me into it. I like how you can express yourself through it and how unique every piece of art is,” she said.
But she only began to use paint as a medium within the last year.
“I never really liked painting because I thought it was really hard, but then I figured out it was a lot easier than I thought,” said Kaercher, who previously had focused on pencil sketches.
When she learned she had won the contest she kinda “freaked out.”
“I did not think I was going to win. I didn’t intend on winning, I just did it out of the spur of the moment and I was really excited when I won,” Kaercher said. “It was a good day.”
She was presented with her prizes on Feb. 7 during the Toronto Sportsman Show. Along with her large painting, which she plans on framing and hanging in the family living room. She won a fishing kit, a four-day fishing trip in New Liskeard, a young anglers licence and $500 in art supplies for her school, Huntsville High School.
And thanks to her proud grandpa, who couldn’t stop bragging about Kaercher’s accomplishment, she was invited to participate in an art show this summer in Kearney.
Pursuing her passion after high school is a goal she’s set for herself. Kaercher would like to study fine art during her post secondary education to become a professional artist.