Senior Ivy Howard draws two winning spots in the WA art calendar


Kate Kelly

Senior Ivy Howard works on a drawing after school during art club.

Kate Kelly, Staff Writer

Twelve hours. Graphite-covered hands blend the rough image of a dog. A dark shadow contrasting the bright and flowing water beneath it. A pearly white grin, locks of fur, and big floppy ears all sketched by the same artist. Twelve hours, creating a piece soon to be in houses across town. 

Senior Ivy Howard won two spots in the 2023 Westford Academy Art Calendar, both the cover page and the month of June page. The competition has been an annual tradition since 1986, but multiple submissions selected from one student is a rarity.  

This is a required project for all full-year art courses at WA, but because Howard is taking advanced honors and AP art her senior year, she had to submit two entries. She drew one piece over the summer while the other she worked on in class. Howard received support from multiple people throughout the process, including WA Studio Art teacher Lisa Bolotte and advanced art honors and AP art teacher Kelly Lampert.

“I said, ‘If anyone can do it, [Ivy] can. I know how hard you work and I know that you’ll put the hours in,’” Bolotte said. “It’s not going to be easy for either class, but she is handling it very well and continues to grow as an artist, putting her heart and soul into every piece.” 

Howard’s piece received the most faculty votes and therefore made the cover. Her other submission was ranked in the top 14 and subsequently placed as the June artwork. 

The prompt was to showcase an image in Westford which, with 57 participants, has been interpreted in many ways. Howard in particular was focused on pet portraiture. Her submissions both featured her dog as the subject. 

“She engages the viewer because you see the expression of her dog and she does it with such loving care that the viewer is just pulled into that piece,” Bolotte said.

When working on long term projects such as this, a sectioning tactic called the box method is most commonly suggested, but Howard took a different approach. 

“I like to break that boundary and go everywhere, focusing on the whole picture to draw the full sketch as soon as I can,” Howard said. “Then, I go in with some harsh areas where the darker parts [of the drawing] are. This has a lot to do with blending skills.”

Howard also describes herself as a perfectionist throughout this process, which is one factor that prolonged the final result.

“I think the reason her piece made it onto the cover is [because] she had a lot of opportunities to work on it, step away from it, and come back., which really nitpick and push the contrasts,” Lampert said. 

Creativity has been part of Howard’s life since elementary school, as she took an art class at the Roudenbush Community Center when she was younger. However, constant practice and hard work are what really made an impact in her artwork.

“I took the art classes [at Roudenbush Community center] for roughly a year, but they were not necessarily to teach or improve your skills, it was more a fun thing to get to know the kids in your community,” Howard said. “Outside of that I haven’t had any experience and most of my work was self-taught.”

As a senior, Howard is even considering pursuing her talent outside of class, whether that be in art therapy or body art. 

Now, the WA art calendar will be sold at the holiday bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 3, and the funds raised will contribute to supporting the art club throughout the year. Students like Howard will get recognition by teachers at an annual calendar ceremony exclusively for students who had their work published in the calendar.

“Ivy wants to have a dialogue about her art even though she’s great at it,” Bolotte said. “She’s very humble, and just a nice person all around. It was really a pleasure to get to know her and see what she’s doing this year.”