For Denver Oakes and Maeve Hull, the world is a carousel of color.
The two young girls have been chosen as the winners in The Daily Gazette's 2019 Christmas Coloring Contest.
This year's annual artistic rhapsody in blues, reds, greens, purples and yellows brought more than 330 entries to the newspaper's headquarters on Maxon Road Extension.
Colorists competed in two age categories, 7 and under and 8 to 12. The 2019 challenge asked children to present Santa, hauling a large sack full of toys near a living room fireplace, in his holiday hues.
The winners receive $100 each.
Niskayuna's Hull, 11, a sixth-grader at Van Antwerp Middle School, won the senior category. This year was the fourth time she has entered the contest.
"I mostly draw and color in my own pictures," Hull said. "Usually people and animals."
Hull prefers turquoise and purple for her creations. "It really depends on what I'm drawing," she said.
Like other artists, Hull paid attention to detail when she was moving her colored pencils and markers. "As I was coloring, I just kept thinking of them" she said.
Her sisters are fans of the "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" movies, so the stockings hung by the mantle included crossed light sabers for the space saga and the large rimmed eye glasses favored by the young magician in the Potter series.
As Hull loves animals -- especially her Dachshund-beagle-Jack Russell mix dog River -- her stocking was decorated with cheetah paw prints.
Hull said she invested three hours in the project. She offered advice for kids who will enter the 2020 contest next November and December.
"They should think of their own family and add them in," she said. "That's what I did."
Hull also included yellow fairy lights hanging on the walls, a textured floor, butterfly wrapping paper on one of Santa's presents and an ornate hearth in front of the fireplace.
Hull has been a runner-up in previous contests. She said when her father, Aaron, was notified by Gazette personnel she had won, he called out her name in the house, "Maeve!"
"I thought I was in trouble, but then I found out I had won, I was really excited," Hull said.
In addition to her admiration of dogs and other animals -- "I like to play with dogs, sit right next to them and be with them" -- Hull also appreciates dance. She practices the physical art form at the Orlando School of Dance.
Delanson resident Denver Oakes, 7, a second-grader at Duanesburg Elementary School, entered the contest for the first time. She likes to use red, purple, pink and blue in her coloring work. She also been known to write her own short stories and illustrate her characters. She will also create and color fairy creations on paper.
For the Santa challenge, Oakes gave Santa an extra bushy beard and mustache. The gifts, stockings, flowers on the wall and fireplace flames were all neatly colored.
Oakes put a narrow carpet in front of the fireplace: "It's red and green with cookies all over it," she said.
The youngster said writing and art are her favorite subjects in school. She also loves gymnastics.
Like millions of others, Oakes is looking forward to Christmas. She said she will open presents, have Christmas dinner with neighbors and spend time with her Grandmother Marianne.
Judges said they were impressed by the creativity shown by the young artists
Many of this year's contest participants wrote names on stockings that hung from the mantel, made decorative wrapping paper on gifts and drew in a clock striking midnight. Some added windows showing a dark sky and stars outside. Many added a hardwood floor, wallpaper and roaring fire in the fireplace.
Some of the impressive details included:
* Zoe Kirkton, 10, of Niskayuna drew a toy train chugging along across the bottom of the picture with a sign pointing the way to "the North Pole."
* Emilia Zea, 12, of Amsterdam, added several houses with windows and doors and even a school building. She added a giant yellow moon with Santa in his sleigh and reindeer flying across the sky.
* Guinevere Libertucci, 8, of Glenville wrote on her drawing "Merry Christmas to All!!! Who Truly Believe!"
* Jennifer Patino, 11, of Duanesburg added a tiny elf with Santa Claus exclaiming, "Come with me, Elf!"
* Ivy Ronda, 10, of Stillwater, gave depth to her drawing by adding a room off to the left side with windows.
* Braden Perrone, 9, of Rock City Falls, had some fun by drawing some cats and reindeer and even decorated Santa's toy bag with a snowman.
* C.J. Stafford, 11, of Amsterdam didn't forget his loved ones, drawing in a framed picture of his family on the wall behind Santa.
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]