Clementine Gaal

Clementine Gaal, who graduated from Abingdon High School in May, holds artwork she designed for the 2019 Washington County Fair. The student-generated artwork is the result of a partnership between the Washington County Career and Technical Center and the Washington County Fair.

ABINGDON, Va. — An Abingdon High School graduate got a jump-start on her art career when she was chosen to design promotional artwork for this year’s Washington County Fair.

Clementine Gaal, who graduated in May, was a student in advertising design at the Washington County Career and Technical Center in Abingdon when she learned about the opportunity.

According to Kathryn Roussel, who teaches the class, Clementine was the natural choice for the assignment.

“Clementine has a passion for graphic design that is evident in all of her classwork,” said the instructor.

“She was the obvious choice when the Washington County Fair asked our advertising design class to assist with their advertising. She received direction from me as her art director and delivered a design that was an instant hit with our client.

“Successful design comes from asking the right questions and listening well. Clementine delivers every time. There is no doubt that she has a successful career in her future. I look forward to watching how far she will go.”

According to Dr. Janet Lester, supervisor of elementary schools in Washington County and a director of the fair, this is the second year students have been involved in developing the fair theme. “We want to get more of the younger generation involved in the fair. Having this class work on the fair theme hopefully gives them ownership and interest in being part of the Washington County Fair,” said Lester.

Using Adobe Illustrator to create the art for the digital design, the student used advanced technical and artistic abilities to create a one-of-a-kind montage of regional highlights.

The dominant element in the design is the whimsical face of a brown cow that is wearing a No. 70 ear tag to represent the 70th anniversary of the fair. The cow is surrounded by grass and flowers with fair rides featured in the background of the design.

“The students and I named her Bertha while I was creating the design in class,” said Clementine.

“Her large eyes are supposed to have an inquisitive look. I used lighter colors in the design to make it have a fun and fresh look,” she said.

The design includes the 2019 theme for the fair, “Let the Good Times Grow,” in which Clementine inserted a round bale of hay inside the letter “O” for the word “grow.”

The young artist, who moved to Southwest Virginia with her family in 2012, said she’s never lived on a farm but always admired cows from a distance. Before she began the design, she found references of cow sketches and began drawing them for practice before completing her work on a computer at school.

Her original artwork for the fair will be used for billboards, pamphlets, flyers, advertising booklets and stickers.

“It will be so cool to see my own artwork representing the fair. I feel very thankful to have the opportunity to create something that will benefit the community,” said Clementine.

Clementine enjoys a wide range of interests when it comes to the arts. She likes illustration, pen and ink, watercolors, sculpture and computer programs such as Photoshop.

She plans to enroll in Virginia Highlands Community College and later transfer to an art school to further her art career.

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Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at

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