Natalie Skowbo with her piece, "It's Watching Me." [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

Artist Princesa Gomez-Almanza has been working on her self-portrait, “Tres Hermanas” for years: she’s revisited the painting multiple times to add new elements. Her latest rendition, done in hues of blue and black, depicts three blindfolded girls crying black tears. Each woman represents Gomez-Almanza in different stages of life, from elementary school to high school. Each tear represents a loss.

“Recreating this painting shows my process, and how my life is changing,” Gomez-Almanza said. “… [Painting] calms me down—it helps me show my experiences.” 

“Tres Hermanas” by Princesa Gomez-Almanza. [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

Gomez-Almanza is a student at Grand County High School, and her work is on display as part of the ‘Creativity of Life’ exhibit at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center throughout January. 

“We just wanted to spotlight the students and give them the opportunity to hang their art in the community,” said Catherine Moore, the multi-media teacher at GCHS. “[The exhibit] really shows the wide range of work the students can do.” 

The exhibit pulls together artwork from students of all grade levels and with all mediums, including paintings, photographs, collages, block prints, and sketches. There are individual pieces of artwork, like Gomez-Almanza’s “Tres Hermanas,” but also explorations of the same subject: a number of works depict the different ways beginner art students drew a bike wheel.

Christa Green, the GCHS art/ceramics teacher, said that during class she tries to expose students to different mediums, artists, and periods of art history to help them explore what type of art they may be drawn to. 

“I love to see how different students show essentially their personality,” Green said. “When you put it all together, you can see what a wide range that is.” 

Artist Natalie Skowbo has a few works in the exhibit: her favorite is a block print titled “It’s Watching Me,” which depicts a Victorian woman sitting on a pair of binoculars as another figure, depicted on a Roman-style column, looks at her.

“I really like the Victorian era and Roman iconography,” Skowbo said. The piece was made during a class project in which students were instructed to make a collage from books and magazines and then sketch it out. As Skowbo developed her project, she knew she wanted to include a Victorian figure in the middle and a nod to Roman architecture. Green, her teacher, helped develop the final sketch, which Skowbo then turned into the block print. 

“I really loved putting it together,” she said. 

Skowbo was introduced to block printing in fifth grade, and never revisited the medium until recently. But she absolutely loves it, she said: she loves the permanence of each carve into the rubber block and the necessary use of negative space. Skowbo is planning to study art history in college, she said, so she can continue learning about art. 

“My whole family is super artistic, so art has always been a huge part of my life,” she said. “I definitely plan on continuing.”

The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of January in the MARC’s Foyer Gallery.