Boats on the Tchefuncte River

by Grace Traina

12th Grade at Mandeville High School
Acrylic on paper
8.5 x 11

Not For Sale

In Talented Art, I’m often enlisted to do the mathematical measurements. The other artists, though they can recreate a Rembrandt with ease, are unabashedly averse to algebra. However, I’ll spend hours calculating the optimum height for the base to my penny sculpture and perfecting the border proportion for my still life series. When my senior counselor urged me to choose between art and AP Calculus, I refused to break the union between my right and left brain.
This union, however, has challenged me in my art classes. While I enjoy the mental workout of developing a balanced graphic design, I struggle with executing a hurried gesture drawing. Accordingly, Impressionism, a style defined by spontaneity, seemed an unachievable ideal. Junior year, I had to reproduce an original Impressionist painting, and I apprehensively chose Édouard Manet’s Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil.

I first struggled, spending three hours attempting to recreate the exact brushstrokes of the clouds as my classmates were finishing their foregrounds. I stayed after class one day to talk to my art teacher about my problems with our newest project. She urged me to try and let go, to stop fretting over each individual brushstroke.
I began to consciously remind myself to stop thinking, a technique that eventually became an enjoyable second nature. Art developed into a pleasant distraction from my daily school stress. This piece is inspired by the Impressionism unit I completed in my junior year. I based the landscape on a picture I took while studying at my favorite Madisonville coffee shop, Abita Roasting Company. Thus, for me, Boats on the Tchefuncte River represents the intersection between my right and left brains, the combination of creativity and logic in nature.

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