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Red River College students auction their works for Winnipeg Harvest

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Red River College graphic design students create original works of art over the weekend during the 12th annual Student Art Show and Auction at The Forks.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Red River College graphic design students create original works of art over the weekend during the 12th annual Student Art Show and Auction at The Forks. Photo Store

It's art from the heart.

A group of young artists had just over a day at The Forks Market to create original works of art and then auction them off to support Winnipeg Harvest and the Red River College students' graduation fund.

A total of 66 original works of art, such as watercolour paintings, ink drawings and other media, were created by 48 graphic design students from RRC over the weekend.

Annalee Giesbrecht, 25, created a watercolour piece called What Lives in the River? in which she painted items and creatures she imagined were living in the Red River. At the top of the piece, she painted the St. Boniface Cathedral and a voyageur in a plaid shirt to give it a special Manitoba charm.

"There's a shopping cart, an old boot, some fish (including a happy-looking catfish) and this scary squid monster at the bottom. You just never know (what's at the bottom)," Giesbrecht said, laughing.

"I really like my funny painting and I'm happy it's going to help a good cause. Sometimes when your talent is doing art, it's sort of hard to see how that benefits other people. It's fun for us to do it and rewarding to know we can help out something."

Her piece sold for $130.

In its 12th year, the Student Art Show and Auction was also a spectator event as patrons at The Forks walked around the area where the students were creating their pieces and, if they wished, could speak to the artists about their creations.

"It's wide open; they get a chance to explore a medium they don't normally use and I think that's what makes it special," said Diane Livingston, RRC's graphic design program co-ordinator.

She said the students begin one week in advance by submitting their ideas to the drawing instructor.

"They're using materials we actually don't teach. We're not a fine arts program, we're a design program. We touch on watercolour, as an illustration, but we don't work in acrylics," she said.

An owl face with hypnotic eyes painted in acrylic on a piece of plywood was one of 22-year-old Steven Martz's creations. He also did a drawing of three birds in ink. His works earned $120 and $110 from eager bidders.

"I do a lot of pen work but I don't ever paint -- ever. Including practice time, I think this is maybe the fourth time I've ever painted," said Martz. "I just liked the feel of it. The plywood sits well with the owl. There's like a wood and nature theme to it."

Abra Dueck, 30, named her piece Navigating the Red and based it on a photograph she took last summer of a peaceful scene along the riverwalk below the CN bridge at The Forks with geese, ducks and yellow ducklings. She used watercolours and pencil crayons.

"I have only used watercolour four times in my life, so it was an exciting, yet stressful, enterprise," said Dueck, who graduated in 2007 from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, majoring in oil painting and experimental animation.

She's now continuing her studies in Winnipeg in graphics design, and is excited to be part of such a worthwhile event for a good cause. Her piece sold for $125.

"I am attached to (the artwork), but it's OK. It will go to someone else and help support Winnipeg Harvest," Dueck said. "You end up putting even more emotion and even more of yourself into it knowing that it's going to something that is meaningful."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 3, 2014 B1

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Updated on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 7:58 AM CST: Changes headline, replaces photo

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