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The Art of August

The Art of August by Dani Fulkerson

Featuring seamlessly blended pigment and soft realistic features, junior August Grube’s self-portrait dreamily embodies emotion, movement and her passion for creating art. 

Her other art projects, often displayed in the hall, catch the eye due to her use of advanced composition skills, attention to detail and strong realism techniques that result in skillful works of art. 

Grube realized she had a passion for drawing and painting when she was around six or seven. 

“I would keep a giant stack of printer paper next to me as a kid and fill up each page with drawings,” she said. 

However, she did not notice how advanced her artistic skills were in comparison to other kids her age until she was in middle school. 

“My middle school art teacher told me I had a talent and recommended I participate in the scholastic art contest,” she said. 

Grube earned a gold medal her first year. By the time she was a freshman, she had won two silver medals and two gold medals. She recently won three Fort Wayne Art Museum Scholastic Art awards, including a Gold Key for “Summer Self,” a pencil drawing self-portait, a Silver Key for “Mr. Lonely,” an acrylic painting, and an honorable mention for an acrylic wash entry titled “Winter Melancholia.”  

Grube spends around two hours per day drawing. 

“I am constantly doodling in class. All of my notebook margins are full of sketches and I even draw out my notes,” she said.  

She does admit however, that she should spend more time improving her skill. 

When Grube practices art at home she most often exercises her drawing and painting technique, usually using graphite and acrylic paints, which she enjoys more than other mediums. She acknowledges having doubts about certain mediums, but believes that she cannot grow as an artist by always using the same materials, techniques and styles. 

Grube would love to experiment more with oil paints but explains that she “doesn’t have the outlet because oil paints and materials are really expensive.” 

Grube’s artwork reflects her personal style which is derived from inspiration she finds on social media platforms.  

“I take inspiration from alternative and cool graphic artists on Instagram as well as classical realism paintings,” she said.  

Her favorite piece she’s drawn, a self-portrait, reflects her love for realism. The drawing was completed in art class. 

“I made a lot of mistakes, but found ways to fix them and overcome challenges, so I am very proud of the outcome,” she said, referring to her black and white portrait. 

Mr. Dave Mohr, Grube’s art teacher, is also “in awe” of her hard work in class, noting her strong focus and drive. 

“Most teens are more interested in Snapchat,” Mr. Mohr said, “but she has a great eye and skill level especially for her age.” 

Developing compositions is not always easy, however. When she experiences creative block, Grube practices her skill by using references. She turns to Pinterest for picture references and various web sites for nude figure practice. She will often start by drawing a figure or profile of a face or body, then will add geometric shapes or floral designs to add interest. 

Despite her dedication to her artistic talent, Grube is not sure how she will incorporate her passion for art beyond high school. She wants to continue pursuing her artistic skills, but is uncertain as to what field to explore. 

“I know I do not want to draw commercially because it would not allow me to be creative,” she said. 

Instead, she thinks she may hold a conventional job and pursue art as a hobby. 

Grube is currently looking into art schools and university programs. Purdue University Indianapolis and The Art Institute of Chicago are her top choices. She has taken three week summer art programs at The University of Saint Francis which she enjoys especially because she gets to spend time with students who share her interests. 

For now, in high school, Grube considers her artistic talent to be “extremely helpful.”  

“I definitely think I have the upper hand at creating posters and other projects because making these projects presentable comes easily to me,” she said.  

She also noticed that her artistic ability helps her to visualize shapes and angles and their relationships to each other in math classes, especially geometry. 

Referring to her successes as an artist, Grube said she is “very lucky to have such supportive parents. They push and encourage me to always do my best.”  

Grube’s mother compares her artistic talents to those of an athlete. 

“My mom says that if her daughter had a natural talent for playing volleyball she would put her in conditioning and take her to volleyball camps,” Grube said. “Both of my parents help me look for scholarships and support my commissioned works.”  

Grube does not usually notice the outreach her artwork has on the community, but every once in a while she will hear someone mention her name or piece of artwork in the hall. 

“It makes me very, very happy to be recognized by strangers,” she said. “It makes me feel as though I can push forward despite any challenges I might face.”  

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