LEHMAN TWP. — Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School senior Madison Stambaugh came close to crying in a crowded Kingston art studio when WVIA named her Artist of the Year last month.
WVIA, a public broadcast television station, awards two art students in the areas of visual and performing arts as Artists of the Week throughout the year.
From this pool of candidates, the Artist of the Year was chosen and honored during the Artist Celebration held April 8 at Mainstreet Galleries, 370 Pierce St.
The young woman’s path that led her to success began when she was a small child.
“I remember I had paintings and drawings hanging all over my house,” she said. “I remember Mom saying, ‘We need to do something with this (Stambaugh’s artistic talent).’”
When she was in first grade, her parents, Bob and Melissa Stambaugh, enrolled her in art lessons at Sue Hand Imagery in Dallas. She continues to hone her artistic skills in the Back Mountain studio.
By the time Stambaugh reached high school, she had mastered several painting and drawing techniques but had much more to learn.
“When I was a freshman I avoided working with colored pencils,” she said.
Stambaugh, who prefers to use oil paints and watercolors, struggled to master shading techniques with colored pencils.
“The following year I tried again and had improved. Now I force myself to work in colored pencil. It is a slow and tedious process,” she said.
She also combined the realist techniques she learned from Hand with the expressive designs taught by the high school’s art teacher, Shane Kupsky.
“They (Hand and Kupsky) helped me develop as an artist,” she said.
Her passion for visual art increased in high school. She completed all the art class offerings at Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School.
Kupsky noticed her improvement and suggested she enter WVIA’s Artist of the Week competition.
Stambaugh entered the contest in October and was invited, along with nearly 30 other high school students from northeast and central Pennsylvania, to bring five pieces of art to the television station’s Pittston Township studio.
“It was very exciting,” she said. “We were interviewed individually. I never did anything like this.”
The week of Dec. 28, she was named Artist of the Week in the category of visual art, along with Corey Kinney of Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School, who placed in the area of performing arts.
In March, she received a call from WVIA’s staff stating she was one of 10 visual art finalists chosen to compete for the Artist of the Year.
“I was so excited,” she said. “I called my parents right away.”
Stambaugh’s three siblings, Logan, 13; Jacob, 11; and Audrey 10, were also very happy.
“They (her brothers and sisters) are always asking me to draw them things,” she said.
She had to provide five more pieces of art that were displayed in Mainstreet Galleries from April 8 through 29.
When the time came to announce the Artist of the Year, she was nervous.
“My parents stood behind the announcer (from WVIA),” she said. “They could see the name on the plaque before he announced it. I saw their faces.”
But it was not until she heard her name announced as WVIA’s Artist of the Year that it sunk in.
“I was so surprised. It was so exciting,” she said. “I was so close to crying.”
The award will help to frame up her future. Stambaugh is scheduled to graduate from Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School this spring and is accepted to Temple University in Philadelphia. She wants to develop a career in Advertising and Graphic Design while incorporating painting and drawing into her daily life.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.