Santa Claus relaxes in a comfortable chair and reviews the “good list” he will consult during tonight’s Christmas Eve expedition.
In the holiday scene, a decorated Christmas tree stands on one side of the room. A smiling elf prepares to follow orders from his merry master.
The drawing appeared several times in late autumn editions of The Daily Gazette — the newspaper’s 2020 Christmas Coloring Contest.
Haley Garrett and Eve Bohall have topped the list of artistic children in the Capital Region who participated. Niskayuna resident Garrett, who just turned 13, and Bohall, 7, who lives in Glenville, this week were chosen winners in the long-running holiday exercise.
Nearly 400 crayon and pencil experts participated in the annual rhapsody of blues, reds, greens, purples and oranges. Colorists competed in two age categories, 7 and under and 8 to 12.
The winners receive $100 each.
“This year’s coloring contest drew hundreds of submissions, each of which brightened our day in the newsroom,” said Cailin Brown, the newspaper’s managing editor. “We are grateful for the children who shared their creativity and for the families who helped to get those submissions to The Daily Gazette.”
Brown also said, “We especially want to congratulate our winners – Haley Garrett and Eve Bohall – and all the children who helped make this season just a bit more magical with their artwork.”
This year’s challenge asked kids to brighten the scene with Santa, his elf and his Christmas tree.
Garrett was 12 when she filled her newspaper page with primary colors; she celebrated her 13th birthday on December 20 — after the deadline for all entries had passed. She was 12 years old at the time she colored, fulfilling the eligibility requirement for the contest. .
Garrett, a seventh-grade student at Iroquois Middle School, employed a bold vision. Her Santa is dressed in a vibrant red and white. The evergreen is decorated with ornaments painted with snowflakes and doves, and Garrett decided to play electrician by adding a power cord and outlet to the back wall.
Garrett colored the wall a rich blue, with a circular, magical swirl of white in the center. The elf wears traditional holiday green.
“I’m very excited,” Garrett said Tuesday afternoon. She has entered the contest for the past four years, and made the top 20 the past two years.
Garrett, one of three children in the family of Rick and Heather Garrett, spent about three hours on her project. She knew judges have always looked for creativity.
“I tried to add extra presents under the tree and then shade it as much as I could to make it look as real as possible,” she said. “And I wanted to do something cool with the background, and not just make it a solid color. I wanted to make it feel very festive, so I used blues, reds and greens.”
Like other artists, Garrett “framed” her piece in red and white candy cane-style stripes.
“It was fun,” she said of the artistic adventure. “It let me have something to do because I’ve been so bored.”
The elf’s face was colored light brown. “I wanted to make him inclusive,” Garrett said. “So everyone doesn’t have the same skin color.”
The middle school student also likes to sketch and paint. Soccer and running are sports of choice; reading is another hobby.
“I like all types of books,” she said. “I recently read a bunch of fantasy books, but then I read a historical fiction, so all types of books. Right now, I’m reading a mystery book, ‘The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes.'”
‘A lot of detail’
Bohall, a second-grader at Pashley Elementary School, also looked on the bright side.
“I was excited to do the picture,” she said. “I wanted to put a lot of detail into my background.”
The Bohall portrait includes Santa and elf in red outfits, a giant blue present under the tree, small windows drawn and colored into the back wall and a “good list” of deep brown. The artist said she spent about two nights on the color form, working her pencils and crayons 30 minutes each session.
“I was very happy that I won,” she said. “I wasn’t really expecting that.”
Bohall does not limit her artistic pursuits to the Christmas season.
“I like to draw an outline, maybe trace something, then color it in,” she said. “I love cats. I usually color them orange because that’s my favorite type of cat. I like ginger cats.”
Bohall said she loves the lights and decorations that come with the holiday season. She also likes running and playing the piano.
Bohall, daughter of Justine and Javen Bohall, was happy to offer advice to kids who want to improve their chances for the 2021 version of the Christmas Coloring Contest.
“Put in a lot of detail and think about what other people wouldn’t do,” she said. “Maybe add some pictures or windows.”
Kids showed off their imaginations this year. Here are just a few examples:
— Davina Etkin, 10, of Gloversville, added a flat-screen television set to Santa’s back wall, with a football game in progress. She also installed a fireplace and a bookshelf for her background.
— Bradley Heller, 12, of Niskayuna, included names such as “Nick,” “Jack,” “Claire” and “Bradley” to Santa’s scroll. St. Nick also received a colorful re-imagining of his traditional traveling clothes; multiple colors gave Santa an almost psychedelic look.
— Abigail Stopyak, 12, of Halfmoon, drew a picture window in the back wall, with a reindeer and sled waiting outside. A large clock also became part of Santa’s stronghold.
More experienced artists also participated. Kelly Eaton, 42, of Glenville submitted a spectrum-spanning rendition of the Christmas scene.
“During this difficult year, many adults turned to arts and crafts to soothe their stress and anxiety,” Eaton wrote in a note to the newspaper. “So although I’m clearly not 12 and under, I needed a little color therapy to help get through the end of 2020.
“Until you open the ‘adult’ submission pool,” Eaton added, “please take this as my entry in the ‘I’m surviving Covid’ age group.”
25 runners-up selected
The judges also singled out the following participants for their fine entries:
Davina Etkin, Gloversville
Stellah Gould, Ballston Spa
Lillian Hammer, Ballston Spa
Bradley Heller, Niskayuna
Prudence Hyatt, Schenectady
Payton King, Johnstown
Zoe Kirkton, Niskayuna
Lillian Knott, Burnt Hills
Gavin LeBrou, Niskayuna
Mason Maggs, Glenville
Sheila Marino, Scotia
Danics Morris, Glenville
Randi Morris, Glenville
Rosemary Ottati, Niskayuna
Gracie Pacella, Niskayuna
Nicholas Pedone, Glenville
Travis Rorick, Ballston Spa
Abigail Stopyak, Halfmoon
Talia Suslak, Loudonville
Timothea Tarantelli, Schenectady
Melissa and Sarah Tarullo, Albany
Katie Teresco, Amsterdam
Francezka Trendell, Burnt Hills
Kaitlyn Villano, Schenectady
Ben Vrooman, Schenectady
Contact Jeff Wilkin at [email protected]