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Tinley Park student artist puts ‘moo-o-o-ove’ on her competition

MelissPatino Tinley Park High School participated Lucerne Art Dairy contest got life-size cow paint. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

Melissa Patino, of Tinley Park High School, participated in the Lucerne Art of Dairy contest and got a life-size cow to paint. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 23, 2013 6:01AM



As the saying goes, “One picture is worth a thousand words,” and Melissa Patino takes that to heart.

Putting it plainly, she’s not a big talker. In fact, word around Tinley Park High School is that Patino is very, very shy. But that doesn’t stop her from expressing herself.

“Melissa is very quiet and goes unnoticed at times but this is a tragedy. She is a wonderful model of what a Titan student should be: diligent, hard-working and creative,” said Katie Udstuen, a spokeswoman for the high school where Patino, 16, is a senior-to-be.

Even Patino admits she’s quiet. Needing to express herself someway, somehow, she started drawing.

“Ever since I was young, I was scribbling on paper and walls. I couldn’t stop drawing,” said Patino, who would draw alongside her twin sister, Michele.

Her talents did not go unnoticed by the art department. Her most recent masterpiece is a cow.

It is all part of an art assignment called “Imagine Dairyland” where she had to “fill in” a template of a cow on a provided sheet of paper. The assignment was the entry form to the Lucerne Art of Dairy, a national art contest.

Not taking it too seriously, Patino used colored pencils to fill in her cow and submitted the assignment. Soon the school heard back that Patino’s illustration was chosen among nine finalists. Next, the contest sent her a life-size model of a cow and asked her to replicate her paper drawing on it. The final artwork was then posted online at www.artofdairy.com for nationwide voting through May 17.

Her artwork features a milk waterfall, string cheese raft, a mountain made of butter, and in the background is an ice cream forest. One of the cow’s front legs is chocolate milk and the back legs are cheese; the udder is imagined as strawberry milk.

“At first, I just wanted to complete the assignment, so it just took a day to draw out, but it took one month to paint the cow,” she said.

Unfortunately, her artwork didn’t win in the final tally, but Patino says she had fun doing it and learned plenty.

Patino never quite saw herself painting a cow since she said she is “more of a pen and pencil person. I like to illustrate things. I just love how you can express yourself. I am not good at that and I like to show my ideas.”

Ultimately, she would like to become an animator and attend the California Institute of the Arts.

“I want to make TV shows or a series for kids that shows the good things. I want to draw animé and show the type of goodness in this art style,” said Patino, the daughter of Hector and Janette Patino, of Oak Forest.

She says her art class peers are her mentors.

“I’m motivated by anyone I believe is better than me. I always try to strive to be best in class. I want to be the best in my class. That is what I strive for,” she said.

The Lucerne Art of Dairy isn’t her first art contest. She recently won a contest sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation. She was chosen to submit a design for a rain barrel through her art class, and the judges chose hers.

When she isn’t drawing, she works part time at Rosemary Garden, a florist in Oak Forest, where she helps put together floral arrangements.

“I always want my parents to be proud of me for something. I feel with this talent I have what it takes to make them proud of me,” she said.



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