Abbotsford art teacher wins provincial contest

Shannon Thiesen now advances to nationals in Toronto

Shannon Thiesen is shown with the abstract bear painting she created as part of the Art Battle BC Finals. She won the contest and advances to the nationals.

Shannon Thiesen is shown with the abstract bear painting she created as part of the Art Battle BC Finals. She won the contest and advances to the nationals.

An Abbotsford teacher won an art contest in Vancouver on June 25 and now proceeds to the national finals later this month.

Shannon Thiesen, a Grade 5 visual arts teacher at Abbotsford School of the Integrated Arts’ North Poplar campus, won the Art Battle BC Finals held in Vancouver at the Red Room.

The contest involved 18 artists, who had won regional events, competing for a chance to win a spot at the national finals in Toronto on July 20 and 21.

Competitors had 20 minutes to create a piece of art, with the public deciding the winner. Artists used acrylic paint, and the tools used were brushes, palette knives and other non-mechanical implements.

There were three rounds of six artists, with the winning two from each round progressing to a fourth and final round of six artists.

The audience then bid in a silent auction to take the work home.

Thiesen narrowly missed a spot at the nationals last year. She said she decided to enter the contest to “loosen up as an artist” because much of her work is “tight, realistic and detailed.”

She said she was also inspired by her students to show them that “creativity takes courage.”

The first piece she produced at this year’s Art Battle was an abstract bear, which she chose ahead of time but had to paint from memory. Thiesen said she was caught off-guard when she made it to the final round, and she painted the face of a woman.