GENEVA – Ten-year-old Katherine Lemke and her family were thrilled when they found out that her art would be published in this month’s Arts & Activities magazine.
But then the news got better. She found out that one of her colorful watercolor and oil pastel paintings would be gracing the cover.
The fifth-grader at Mill Creek Elementary School in Geneva said she heard the news at the end of the school year last year, almost a year after her art teacher, Sarah Brady, helped her send in a few samples. The submission process takes up to 18 months, so many of the pieces Katherine submitted were made while she was in first, second and third grade.
Brady, who has been Katherine’s art teacher at Mill Creek for five years, said she often reads Arts & Activities magazine, but it wasn’t until she heard about the submission process from another teacher through a blog that she decided to submit something from one of her students.
“The first art that came to my mind was Katherine’s,” she said. “The way she puts things on the paper makes it so beautiful to look at. She has the ability to put in essential details without overwhelming it.”
Katherine said she’s loved art “since I first picked up a pencil,” and noted that she prefers using colored pencils, but she has experimented with different types of mediums, including sculpture.
She said her favorite subjects to draw are animals, especially mammals, and she tries to make her drawings as realistic as possible. Katherine’s mother, Laura, said Katherine often draws pictures of their former dog, a pug, and their current dog, a golden retriever.
Katherine said drawing people isn’t her biggest strength, but one of her favorite drawings is of Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Sharp chasing a puck across the ice.
“I kind of just like making images that are actually there, that actually look real,” she said.
Art isn’t Katherine’s only strength. She’s also an athlete and plays the piano, which is why Brady likens her to a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci.
“She does a lot of other activities and sports and plays the piano,” Laura Lemke said. “I think [art] is one of those things she doesn’t really do for the recognition; she just does it because she enjoys it.”