Youth Profile: Ottoville teen excels in national art competition

OTTOVILLE — Art can evoke a variety of feelings, from love and bliss to awe and wonder. For recent Ottoville graduate Elizabeth Luersman, one of her latest creations, an oil painting titled “Remembering” prompts something else for many people: patriotism.

“Remembering,” featuring an eye shedding a tear as it reflects a flag covered casket in Arlington National Cemetery, recently took fourth place in the nation at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Young American Patriotic Competition after taking first place honors both locally and at the state level. The VFW awarded Luersman a $1,500 scholarship and will keep the painting on display at the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW National Convention throughout July in Pennsylvania.

For Luersman, “Remembering” is the product of a lifelong love of art.

“Some people keep a diary and I kept a sketchbook,” she said. “People always bought me art stuff, and as I got older, I took art classes every time I could.”

While Luersman has worked with a variety of media, her current favorite is oil.

“I love working with the canvas,” she said. “They seem to last a long time, too.”

For this particular oil painting, Luersman points to two different sources of inspiration. The first was seeing a picture of an eye shedding a tear on the social media provider Pinterest, and the other is a trip she took to Arlington National Cemetery.

“I thought about the eye and thought it would be cool to put something patriotic in there from her perspective,” she said. “I looked up some pictures from Arlington National Cemetery, and it just kind of all came together.”

When it comes to patriotism, Luersman can think of no better example than the courage of veterans.

“Both of my grandfathers served in the Army,” she said. “I wanted to do something about people who served, and I immediately thought of my visit to Arlington and how sacred it felt there.”

Her work has evoked strong responses from throughout Ottoville and beyond.

“I’ve had people tell me it made them cry,” she said. “People have told me they want a copy.”

Luersman will attend Bluffton University in the fall, planning on majoring in art education.

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