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"Knight of Riverbend" by Lucy MacDougall '22


Congratulations to Head Girl Lucy MacDougall, who is a featured artist in The College Board’s global 2021 AP Art and Design Digital Exhibit! A virtual opening night celebration was held on December 2, 2021. Learn more about Lucy’s “Knight of Riverbend,” which is currently on display in our atrium, at this link

We asked Lucy to share her musings with readers of The Portal.

I have always been interested in art since making thousands of paper snowflakes as a preschooler. All throughout school, my interest in art has increased, and, with the arrival of Ms Karlsson in my art life, my interest has turned into a passion. I have learned so much from her teaching and really enjoy all the art classes I have taken with her, especially the one I am taking now. 

Taking a tiny seed of an idea through the multiphase process of creation has held me enthralled all these years. What I truly enjoy about the Advanced Placement (AP) format is the year-long period to plan, develop, and create my pieces of art. The “Knight of Riverbend” took me all year to complete and would not have been what it is if I had felt any time restraints.

Totally overwhelmed, I had this grand idea, but, because of COVID-19 restrictions, did not have access to Benidickson Centre for Arts & Design nor regular meetings with Ms. Karlsson I was on my own, and that was the root of my anxiety. Never had I used these materials before, never had I ever built anything on this scale. The first months were spent learning how to use these materials and figuring out a way that was tangible to make my vision come to life. After figuring out the logistics of this project, it was just a matter of working my way through building the armour. As the weeks and months went by, and as my knight started taking shape, my concerns decreased. With each completed piece, my hopes expanded. … I could focus more on the artistic side of building this suit of armour.

Working in 3-D has its own set of challenges. For each armour piece, I had to figure out how to transfer my 2-D design on paper to a 3-D piece. To do this, I made templates with paper and duct tape in reference to my own body, so I knew how to cut each part out of the metal. This step ensured that all the pieces would fit together. When I made my templates, I put them on my body and sketched out guidelines so I could see what worked best with the curves of each limb. Many of the templates required adjustments before I could make the final metal pieces. In particular, the helmet, and the hands, especially, required many modifications. 

I was working on the hand of my knight. I had all the digit pieces and the front of the hand completed. I sewed the pieces onto a black glove and put it on. When I saw the life-like hand movement, I was thrilled. After that, I was even more committed to making my knight into the best knight possible. I was determined to work through the rest of the body to ensure it met the standard that I had set for myself. 

To avoid having to glue or weld the pieces together, I used brass paper brads as rivets. I spent some time working on the best way to utilise the rivets, and I figured out that first punching a hole through the metal with a hammer and a nail was the most effective way to proceed. I practised this by making small studies of Celtic knot designs and riveting the different pieces together. Actually, I ended up using a Celtic design on the breastplate of my armour. 
There is an expression, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right, and when I thought of my “Knight of Riverbend,” I knew that I could make him. It was a long journey in the making, but the payoff for me was that my determination dictated my abilities. I tried my best, and I did a good job. 

Then, out of the blue, I was notified that I had been chosen to be one of fifty students featured in this prestigious international exhibition. That totally unanticipated validation has reinforced my belief in myself and my abilities. This amazing opportunity will have a life-long impact on my career choices and my confidence. 

Next fall, I will be pursuing an undergraduate science degree with the ultimate goal of applying to study medicine. I know that I have a long and very competitive road ahead of me. I know that I will sometimes feel unsure of myself. I know that I will feel overwhelmed and frustrated. However, I also know that I will always have the talisman that my “Knight of Riverbend” and the AP Art and Design committee gifted to me. That will always be my four-leaf clover. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ms Karlsson for her continual guidance and support throughout the duration of this project.
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Balmoral Hall School

630 Westminster Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada  R3C 3S1
Tel: (204) 784-1600 | Fax: (204) 774-5534 |
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Our mission at Balmoral Hall School is to inspire girls’ imagination and the courage to excel, to reach, to lead, to care.

We are a nondenominational independent day and boarding school, educating students from Junior Nursery to Grade 12.