March 5, 2001
WHS student follows her dreams
by Deborah Stone
Woodinville High School junior Cassie Knapp has two main passions in her life: art and Scotland. Her love of art started early as a young child when she remembers drawing as her favorite pastime.
"I would draw all the time," explains Knapp, "and I liked especially to copy comic book characters. This actually taught me how to draw people and then I applied these skills to sketching members of my family, friends and complete strangers."
Over the years, Knapp has entered numerous competitions and has won various awards for her sketches, including the Northshore PTA sponsored Reflections Contest, Woodinville's Teen Art Show and a Northshore School District art show. Her work often reflects issues that she is grappling with at the time.
"In ninth grade," explains Knapp, "I was having issues with religion and entered a drawing of a man carrying a woman out of flames. This had symbolic meaning to me. I then burnt the bottom part of the paper to give it a special effect. The picture won first place in the Reflections contest that year."
Knapp's favorite subject matter is people, as she finds them fascinating to draw, with so many unique subjects readily available to her.
She prefers watercolor, but also uses oil paints in her work. Her inspiration comes from one of her favorite artists, John Singer Sergeant, because in her opinion, he is a master portrait painter.
"It seems like no one does realistic portraits anymore," comments Knapp. "Sergeant's work is incredible. I really admire his paintings and by studying his work, I have learned a lot about drawing people. I am basically self-taught when it comes to drawing, so having great models to study has really helped me learn."
Last March, Knapp was one of 42 students chosen from the Puget Sound area to attend a one week art program at Centrum in Port Townsend. She says, "We lived and breathed art each day and it was such a great experience. I got so much out of it. I hope to do it again this year."
Getting paid for her work is not an entirely new concept for this young woman. She has painted designs and murals on people's walls and has also worked at Nordstrom doing portraits of people after they have had makeovers in the cosmetics department.
Recently, though, she moved to a different level in the art world.
She received word that Washington State University was interested in having her do portraits of the university's deans to line the walls in campus administration offices. "Bill Fassett, one of the deans," explains Knapp, "used to be my neighbor and he knew I had done portrait work before. He asked me to do a sample and send it in for the university committee to look at.
"șI did a drawing of Allen White, a past President of WSU. The committee accepted it and commissioned me to do pencil and paper sketches of the seven deans." Knapp is extremely excited and thrilled with this job, as it is an honor to receive a commission of such kind.
She says, "I know I am on the right path when others recognize my work in this way. It just reinforces my feelings about where I'm headed." Knapp plans to study art at the prestigious Mackintosh School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland, when she graduates from WHS next year.
Her love of Scotland and the Scottish culture is deep and stems from numerous trips to that area of the world.
"We had a Scottish man living in our basement for awhile," explains Knapp. "He told me so much about the country and the culture. Finally, I went there with him and fell in love with the place and the people. I knew then that I had been born in the wrong country. I want to live there and paint. That is my dream and a goal I will make come true."