CLARKSVILLE — The picture tells the story. The story of a young child fascinated by the fireflies that flicker in the night skies and illuminate the jar with holes punched in its lid. It is a story experienced by countless children and captured in part on canvas by Clinton-Massie seventh-grade artist Pearl Spurlock.
Spurlock’s artwork titled “A Jar of Fireflies” was featured in the Susan Faulkner Fine Arts Exhibition and Auction during the Ohio Association for Gifted Children’s annual fall conference in Columbus.
Spurlock has been interested in art since she was quite young, and paint is her preferred medium. In addition to studying art at school, Spurlock also takes lessons from Mary Beth Thorngren of Thorngren Studio Arts in Wilmington.
Spurlock was identified as gifted in visual arts in sixth grade, and when former Clinton-Massie art teacher Dan McKay had the opportunity to review Spurlock’s portfolio, he was impressed with her diverse use of artistic styles and techniques and could tell that Spurlock was self-motivated and spent her free time exploring the arts and challenging herself with new subject matter and media.
According to McKay, Spurlock takes each new task as an opportunity to present her best work and really tackles any artistic problem with enthusiasm and strong effort.
“Lots of students struggle to challenge themselves artistically,” said McKay, “but Pearl has an artistic spirit that motivates her to keep creating and exploring. She was a joy to teach!”
During a “Meet the Artists” reception held during the exhibition and judging, students spoke with audience members and told the story behind their work. Spurlock’s story spoke from the perspective of a young child that had witnessed such amazing beauty from the flickering fireflies that the child certainly believed someone would gladly pay the high price of 50 cents to own one as a pet.
Following the reception and evaluation by judging artist Daric Gill, Spurlock was awarded a $100 scholarship which is given to one student across the state of Ohio within the fifth through eighth grade categories.
During the silent auction portion of the exhibition, Spurlock’s “Jar of Fireflies” painting sold for $60 with half of proceeds being presented to the artist and the remainder donated back to the OAGC Student Scholarship Fund.
Curt Bradshaw, Coordinator of Gifted Services with the Southern Ohio Educational Services, worked with Spurlock to help coordinate her participation in the Susan Faulkner Fine arts Exhibition and Auction and found Spurlock’s stellar portrayal of pet fireflies for sale and the perception of value to a young child helped to capture the beauty of her artwork.
“Pearl brings passion for artistic expression through visual media into the classroom,” said Bradshaw. “We are very proud of her accomplishments, and we look forward to future exhibitions with her artwork on display.”
Art educator Jessica Yankel, who is working with Spurlock during the school day says she’s, “excited to have the opportunity to work with Pearl in class this year and is thrilled about the possibilities for Pearl’s creations this year in art class.”
Spurlock’s ability to create varied texture is certainly a demonstration of her advanced performance with mixed media, and her creative processing and attention to detail are evident in the artwork she produces both in class at Clinton-Mass Middle School and through her lessons at Thorngren Studio Arts.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.