Madeline Teague was once a little girl who loved to draw and paint. Now just a few short years later, this graduating senior at Hernando High School has won three major student art awards and has found commissions as a working artist. Yet in the mind and heart of this talented young woman, the creation of art is a reward all its own. “The best piece of advice I give to other young artists is to make what you love, not what sells or what’s on trend on social media,” stated Madeline Teague. “The greatest thing I can do is to make art that pleases and inspires others.”
Teague has done just that in 2023. Congressman Gus Bilirakis has announced that this graduate has won the Best in Show for the tri-county area at the 2023 Congressional Art Competition. The competition was recently conducted in Land O’ Lakes and was judged by volunteers from Hernando and Pasco County Fine Arts Councils, and involved participants in Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties. Her winning artwork, a beautiful portrait of exotic birds created with oil, acrylic and glitter, is called “Amour.” As the overall winner of this auspicious art contest, Teague will travel to Washington, D.C., for a reception honoring herself and the other winners throughout the country. In addition, her artwork will be hung on the walls of the Capitol building for a period of one year.
Locally, other Congressional Art Competition winners include: For Pasco County, Katelyn Morrison from J.W. Mitchell High School was selected for her piece entitled “On Repeat.” For Hernando County, Natalie Hartman of Spring Hill Christian Academy was selected for her submission entitled “Faber Est Suae Fortunae.” For Citrus County, Illiana Enger of Lecanto High School for her creation entitled “Upstream.”
During March, Teague was also named Best in Show in the Student Art Show at the Hernando County Fine Arts Council’s Art in the Park competition earning accolades for a 3D portrait of a fanciful fairy character, created with pearls and shells. This is the second-in-a-row AITP Student Best in Show honor for this Ridge Manor resident, who also claimed first place in the AITP student sculpture category this year. “Art in the Park 2022 was my first public art show, and I ended up winning Best in Show. I was in shock,” said Teague. “I had shown work on social media, but this was my first chance to show my art to real people in the real world.”
For Teague, artistic talent is in the blood. She shared, “My great-grandmother on my mom’s side of the family was an artist. I have several of her paintings.” Soon Teague, citing Vincent van Gogh among her role models, came to discover her own brand of creative inspiration, starting out with pen and ink drawings of dragons. “I had to draw my dragons!” she said with a chuckle.
As the years passed, her artistic vision expanded and she began to make the art she longed to create. “I love to work with different colors, and to paint subjects like birds, animals and fantasy characters, and of course to capture the natural beauty that I see here in Florida,” she said. “I love painting in oils, but also like to try new media.”
Beyond her status as an AP art student at Hernando High, Teague also has quite the following on social media, completing commissions for work worth hundreds of dollars. And when Hernando High art teacher Michael Nicholson suggested that she participate in Art in the Park, she discovered a whole new community of artists and art lovers eager to support her. “Without my teacher, without the arts council members, I wouldn’t have won these honors,” she said. “They have been great. They’ve given me a helping hand.”
The Hernando County Fine Arts Council takes great pride in the accomplishments of Madeline Teague. Jessica Knutila, HCFAC administrative assistant, stated, “Congratulations to Madeline! It is so special to see an artist develop their creative style at such a young age. The Hernando County Fine Arts Council is so proud that our district will be represented by a Hernando County artist in a nationwide Congressional Art Competition!”
“Madeline’s artwork really stood out from the other entries and the intricate detail was truly a skill not many artists of her age have conquered. I too am anxious to see where her love of art takes her and truly hope having her art show cased in D.C. will be an inspiration for her to continue her work, as well as inspire others,” said Diane Greenwell, outreach and advocacy chair for the Hernando County Fine Arts Council.
“Madeline’s artwork has a whimsical quality to it that I personally am so drawn to!” said Allisa Babor, Hernando County Fine Arts council chair. “We have seen that her skill and creativity allow her to create captivating pieces and characters that leave you wanting more. We congratulate her on yet another amazing win and look forward to watching her grow as an artist. Madeline not only won the Congressional Art Contest but also took home Best in Show at the Student Art Show at Art in the Park this year. She is truly making a name for herself in the art community here in Hernando County and I know that I look forward to seeing where her art takes her.” In the future, Teague hopes to write and illustrate graphic novels, and to create and teach art.
In the meantime, a recent visit to the Gulf has inspired what may very well be the next Teague masterpiece. “I’ve already started the painting,” she said with a smile.