Gold & Silver Medals for Jessica

Jessica Käsner plans to pursue an art career. Photos: Provided

Jessica Käsner plans to pursue an art career. Photos: Provided

Things fell into place for 15-year-old Jessica Käsner when she scooped up a gold and silver medal in the 2016 ATKV Eisteddfod Senior and Grade 9 art categories respectively. The Grade 9 Melkbosstrand High School learner has only had formal art classes for the past twelve months. But her achievements confirmed what her parents thought when they saw her doodling in the family’s lounge.

“Jess, you’re an artist,” they said watching an eye taking on form underneath her pen. “Nooh, not at all,” she said. But the signs had been there all along. Shortly after this Jessica’s parents signed up the soft-spoken girl for what would be a life-changing weekly class with artist Denise du Toit.

A gem of a painting. Jess has donated this canvas for the school's Golf Day fundraiser.

A gem of a painting. Jess has donated this canvas for the school’s Golf Day fundraiser.

Transforming the ordinary
Jessica has been transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary since she was this high. When she was around four years old she would sit on the beach and feed bits of mussel to the sea urchins on the rocks. Then there was the incident with the broken lounge window. It had been broken by a passerby and Jessica picked up the shards and built a glass tree on paper. Padam! Magic from nothing.

It also happened when she cut out 150 butterflies in sizes ranging from small to large and made a mandala of butterflies on her bedroom wall. She had used black paper and large scissors and her eye to create a work of art. Easy peasy.

The Bushveldt landscape.

The Bushveld landscape.

The donated painting
The weekly art class is the highlight of Jessica’s busy week. It was during one of these classes that Jessica started to paint the scene of a cityscape seen through a rain-streaked window. The resulting canvas is abstract and mysterious; rich in colour. And it will be more so when it gets its 10th and final layer of glaze. It’s only had one layer so far, and it requires the others because it is acrylic and in need of this extra depth, says Jessica.

The shining canvas is not destined for the family home. Jessica has agreed to have it auctioned at the school’s Golf Day fundraiser. “I’m really interested to see what will happen,” she says.

Jessica with her cousin Elaine Botha (right).

Jessica with her cousin Elaine Botha (right).

“It is something I feel”
The girl who disliked art in primary school now plans to spend the rest of her life doing art. She explains that making art is a natural process for her. “I don’t force myself to make art. It is something I feel.”

On the lounge wall hangs another richly hued painting. It depicts a sunset in the Bushveld, but the young artist has imbued the scene with a dreamy quality that takes it to another level. “You should see it at night, that veldt lights up as if it’s full moon here in Melkbosstrand,” her parents say.

Jessica is a thoroughly modern girl and plans to attend animation school one day and work in 3D animation. The girl who hated art, who found art a bore, has come full circle.