Rodeo Art at the Lake

“Onyx” by Kayla Thomas, Graphite

Marisol Orlina, Editor

It’s a coveted Texas tradition, funded by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and supported by thousands of young Texans across the state; Rodeo Art is just around the corner, and the intense judging has started for this year’s submissions.

Several of these submissions have come from Clear Lake’s art students themselves.

According to [a teacher], rodeo art applicants started on their projects [timeframe], with the majority of them finishing right up to the deadline on Jan. 3. For the students, it’s been a long process, beginning with a visit to a beautiful ranch in Sugar Land and ending with a piece of art as beautiful, if not more, than the originally photographed subject.

“We all went on a field trip to the Georgie Historical Ranch,” sophomore Diya Patel said. However, this class excursion wasn’t entirely for fun, it served a crucial purpose to the competition process.

“In Rodeo Art, you can only draw your own pictures that you’ve taken,” Patel said. The consequences if you draw using a reference picture from another photographer? Patel explained it’s considered plagiarism and the culprit is removed from the contest.

Once at George Historical Ranch, however, the students were given free rein to photograph whatever they wanted as a possible Rodeo Art sketch.

Senior Tabatha Ubernosky noted the natural scenery, but also the exciting parts of her trip. “We were able to pictures of each other too,” Ubernosky said, “And when we saw the bull lassoing? That was really cool.”

But the subject photography only marks the beginning of this three-month ordeal. Next comes picking from the array of ranch photos taken.

Because art is so individualized, this is a very personal step. “I really like drawing people, so I decided to focus on cowboys,” Patel said. “I also wanted to add depth to the art by having [the cowboy] looking at something in action.”

Personalization carries on in the Rodeo Art process, when it comes to the students’ rough sketches and final pieces.

“I chose to do a black and white sketch, which most people do,” Ubernosky said, whereas Patel chose to make her submission colored.

However, as admitted by both Ubernosky and Patel, submissions can often feel fast or rushed. The process of Rodeo Art is lengthy and effortful, with students’ days and nights spent on their art. The deadline creeps up just as unexpected as the New Year. Still, it’s important to remember the meaning behind this exceptional competition. which is bringing together children across the state through fine arts.