The clear winner at the Hermiston School District's Art Show was senior Cyd Tullis.
Tullis, a senior at Hermiston High School, won Senior Artist of the Year for her skateboard art, Best of Show and Judge's Choice for her clay sculpture, first place for a clay water feature, and a second place ribbon for her jewelry.
"It's definitely a surprise," Tullis said of her big win.
Tullis' clay sculpture, "Atre Draidh" (Three Druids in Gaelic), represented many hours of work. She used other mediums besides clay to create a unique trio of masks. Crystals, leaves, stones, and twigs went into the design.
The masks look rather frightening, with their elongated faces, gaping mouths and sightless eyes. However, Tullis' choice of materials draw one's eyes to her art.
The water feature, a tabletop fountain made from clay, features a winding waterfall with clay leaves sprouting from the top. There is a place for a real plant to complete the piece.
Although Tullis won most of her ribbons for her work with clay, painting is her true love. She says a lot of her fellow students prefer drawing to painting. She doesn't. Tullis says she can manipulate paint better than a pencil.
"The smoothness of the painting, the flow of the paint," Tullis said. "You get good vibrant colors you don't get with colored pencils."
Grandmother Birdine Tullis says her granddaughter works hard on her art. Mrs. Tullis also paints and does fiber arts. When Tullis would visit her grandparents, grandmother and granddaughter would work on art together.
"I have always encouraged her," Mrs. Tullis said. "I am delighted Cyd tried so many things. She is a perfectionist."
Tullis has been in art classes since middle school at Ione. She transferred to Hermiston High School two years ago. She took one art class last year and ended up taking three courses this year. Pam Hefner, art teacher at the high school, says Tullis works hard.
"She takes things through," Hefner said. "She's a thinker."
Mark Tullis, Tullis' dad, says his daughter put "thousands of hours" into her work.
"Cyd's very dedicated to her art," Mark said. "She is a pretty special, mature young woman."
Tullis has been raised by her dad, with help from his parents. Tullis spent a lot of time with her grandparents growing up, he says.
Tullis says next year she plans to attend Western Oregon University in Monmouth. Her major will be high school English and low level math, with, of course, a minor in art.
Another surprise winner was eleventh grader Sarah Bivens.
Her untitled acrylic painting is a black, blue and white abstract. Bivens said her second place entry winner was a last minute entry.
"I am so excited!" Bivens said. "I didn't even have a frame for it two days ago. I found one and painted it, but the paint bubbled. I had to sand it down."
Local artist and former art teacher Gayle Weatherson was the judge for the art show. She said there were several categories she was judging for; most intriguing, best presentation, most inspiring and creative, best of show and judge's choice.
"It was extremely difficult to decide," Weatherson said. "There are a number of very talented artists."
The People's Choice Award has not been determined as of press time.
Story by Karen Huchinson-Talaski