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Working together and making a difference

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Realism versus abstract — Cristina Douglas thought the disparate painting techniques would blend well as an exhibit.

As someone who is passionate about art, she should know.

After high school, she decided to make it her calling, studying at Rhode Island School of Design and eventually becoming a teacher at Mount St Agnes Academy.

“I've been doing art since I can remember,” Ms Douglas said. “I live and breathe art. It's always been a passion.”

Three years ago, she held an exhibit with her daughter, Elena Portius. As the pair discussed a repeat, Ms Douglas came up with the idea of inviting a student of hers, Julia Pimentel.

“I've been teaching Julia since she was in grade four,” she said. “My daughter is an installation artist and printmaker, Julia is a realist painter and mine has an abstract feel to it. I wanted to show how art can be so different but have the same theme.”

As it turned out, Ms Portius was busy preparing her portfolio for graduation from university and couldn't take part.

Beyond Water• opens at the Bermuda Society of Arts on Friday, showcasing Ms Douglas's liquid acrylics and Ms Pimentel's pastels and acrylic paintings.

“The work was inspired by their shared love of the ocean and the creatures in it.

“I've always liked drawing,” said Ms Pimentel, who graduates from MSA this year and will study childhood education and art therapy at Massachusetts' Lesley University in September.

“My teachers would inspire me. I did an art show two years ago, a BSoA members' show, which was a bit scary but a great experience. At first, I was a bit sceptical about doing a show [with Ms Douglas] — it was a big step — but I agreed.”

Her teacher, who has exhibited at several BSoA shows and presented in the Charman Prize, said it's likely opening night will be nerve-racking.

“The opening show will bring butterflies for us both, but she's going out on a limb and she's not going to disappoint me.

“I'm already looking forward to the next piece that she does. Even after she goes off to school, I don't want her to give up. Her work is so good.”

It's part of the reason why she nominated the student for a Teen Services award.

Ms Pimentel was presented with an Outstanding Teen Award for visual arts at a ceremony last week.

“I was shocked,” the 18-year-old said of her win. “There are a lot of talented youth in Bermuda and to know that I won, not just an award, but to know [what people think of my work], that I can go far with it, is great. It boosts confidence too.”

In her spare time, when she's not working on her art, she's working to improve Bermuda as president of the MSA chapter of Rotary Interact Club.

“It's a service club. We're working together and really trying to make a difference in the community,” she said, adding that she was particularly proud of a Christmas gift drive the group held for foster children and others in need. “We got help from [all of MSA] and collected clothes, toys, toiletries and other essentials and spent a couple of days wrapping them.”

• Beyond Water opens Friday in the Edinburgh Gallery at the Bermuda Society of Arts and runs until May 28. For more information, www.bsoa.bm

Beyond water: Mount St Agnes Academy student Julia Pimentel will show her art at a joint exhibit with her teacher, Cristina Douglas (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Looking forward: Mount St Agnes art teacher Cristina Douglas (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Julia Pimentel received a Teen Services Outstanding Teen award for visual arts (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Julia Pimentel (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 29, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated April 29, 2019 at 8:37 am)

Working together and making a difference

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