Monday, December 23, 2019

Art Contest – Kid Winners, Midwinter 2019

In this year's Midwinter Art Contest – the first competition run by The Norse Mythology Blog since 2016 – we received plenty of adult entries from around the world. So many grown-ups submitted artworks that the two guest judges have both asked for more time to rank them.

However, we didn't have so many entries this time around in the kid and teen categories. We've decided to feature two of the kid entries to honor the thought, creativity, and effort they put into their work. These two young artists each created something special, and we salute them both for what they did. Skál!

I'd like to thank my fellow judges Liam Sharp (comics artist for 2000 AD in the UK and a great many Marvel and DC titles in the USA) and Ragnhildur Jónsdóttir (Iceland's "friend of the elves and huldufolk"). I greatly appreciate the time that they have volunteered to rank and comment on the entries in all three age divisions. This contest would not be possible without their generosity and kindness.

The assignment was to create a piece that somehow related to the character and myths of the god Odin and the celebration of midwinter. These two young artists both created uniquely creative works of art, and all three of us wish them the best as they continue their artistic journeys.

Note: You can click on the art to see larger versions.

FIRST PLACE
Zywia Wilkowska
Age 10
Ballinlough, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

Zywia describes her artwork:
My picture is based on the story of Odin giving away his eye to drink from Mimir’s well of wisdom. It also is associated with the winter solstice.

There is fire in the well, as the winter solstice is celebrated because of the days starting to get longer with more sunlight, and fire represents the sun. The eye is falling into the well as Odin gave it away. The snow on the ground and edges of the well was another reason for celebration when the sun came back; it blocked Earth from the people, Earth the mother of all life.
There is pine in the top right-hand corner, as it represents hope in the long winter months, that there is still life. The holly represents the Holly King, or Winter itself. Mistletoe, in the bottom left-hand corner, is a magical plant and represents peacemaking. And, most important of all, the ash in the upper left-hand corner is there as there was an ash tree over the well, and the ash is also the Tree of Life in Norse mythology, and the winter solstice is about celebrating life come back as well as the sun.
This wonderful work of art was the unanimous first-place winner in the rankings of all three judges. It has a wonderful structure and shows a great deal of thought. I really love the symbolism of the four different branches in the corners, and I'm especially impressed by the way the gaze of the viewer is pulled down into the well.

Raghnildur says, "A really interesting picture. It is so full of symbolism – the composition is so meaningful with the circle and the four magical branches. Really interesting and a bit scary with the eye there by the fire! But so powerful. The soft use of color gives a meaningful feeling of balance in the midst of a powerful, magical transformation of the god. Looks really promising for your future artistic work. Keep at it!

Liam adds, "Not only has Zywia shown great knowledge of Norse mythology, but this is also exceptional art from a ten-year-old and probably my favourite composition in the entire competition! Shooting the scene from above the well makes for a great shot that echoes Odin’s eye itself. Very well done indeed!"

First Place: Zywia Wilkowska

SECOND PLACE
Greta Karlson
Age 9
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Greta's father writes, "Greta became passionate about Norse mythology after reading Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase series. She has included her description of her piece as text in the piece itself."

I love a lot about this piece, including the fact that Greta spells her name with an exclamation point! It's interesting that she integrates the text of a scene in Asgard and a map of the mythological worlds as part of her artwork. I really like that she depicts Odin in a modern aspect instead of some sort of stereotypical Viking. It's a wonderfully unique and engaging creation.

Liam writes, "So delightful to see a nine-year-old this fascinated with Norse mythology. I love the clever drawing. Odin talking to his raven is particularly charming. Well done, Greta!"

Ragnhildur comments, "Your story is beautiful. It gives a personal feeling to Odin, with his wife and his ravens and the feeling of loneliness during the darkest time of the year – alone except for his dear friends, the ravens. The picture is so full of life on many levels. I love the bird. You can sense the wings flapping. Please keep practicing, Greta, both on your drawings and writing skills. It looks like you have a vivid storyteller inside of you, eager to come out. Allow them to fly free as a raven!

Second Place: Greta Karlson

Teen winners will be announced tomorrow!

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