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It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
Ashleigh McDonald (14) was in a year 9 digital technology class when Lily Van Buskirk (18) came from the art studio next door looking for someone to photograph and then draw as part of her year 13 visual arts class.
Ashleigh was one of several pupils whom Lily photographed for her art work portfolio.
But there was something about the photo of Ashleigh that prompted Lily to pick up a pencil and turn it into a portrait.
Now that portrait has been selected as a finalist in the 2016 Wallace Secondary Schools Art Awards.
"I think her gaze in the photo is interesting. There’s something about the way she can hold a scene in the photograph, and that translates well to the drawing.
"Her eyes tell some unknown story. I think you can truly see the wisdom in her.
"It’s about looking at schools, especially schools like Columba, which have such a strong character, and the aspects of Columba that went into building my character — looking at what it means to be a part of tradition and part of a school that has so much history, and what that means to me.
"It’s all encapsulated within this portrait."
Ashleigh was delighted with the portrait.
"It’s freaky how much it looks like me. It’s like a black and white photo."
Judges in the 2016 Wallace Secondary Schools Art Awards also found the pencil drawing to be good.
More than 500 entries were received this year, and Lily’s work was among 38 from across the country (one of three from across the South Island) to be selected for the finals of the prestigious awards.
The awards ceremony will take place in Auckland on September 12, and Lily’s work will be exhibited at the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre until November 6.
It is not the first time Lily has had success with her art.
Last year, she received an NZQA scholarship in visual art for a painting she did in year 12 — a qualification that is more usually achieved by year 13 pupils.
Lily said she was excited to have reached the final of the competition.
"I have no idea what they are looking for or what they want. But I’m looking forward to seeing what happens."