The Baltimore County Summer Visual Arts Enrichment Camp

Art instructor Mike Bare, right, talks to the high school students attending the annual Baltimore County Summer Visual Arts Enrichment Camp during their excursion to Hampton Mansion in Towson on July 13. Students from Western Tech and Catonsville High as well as Halethorpe Elementary School and Arbutus Middle School are among the 125 students at the camp, which ends this week. (Photo by Steve Ruark / July 13, 2012)

Evangeline Gallagher had already spent three hours looking at her reflection in a mirror by 1 p.m. on July 12 and had at least several more hours to go.

The Catonsville High School rising junior hadn't succumbed to a bout of vanity.

Rather Gallagher was studying her face in order to make a self-portrait.

The assignment came during the Baltimore County Summer Visual Arts Enrichment Camp for students in grades 3-12.

"Like" explorebaltimorecounty's Facebook page

The camp, held at Perry Hall High School, began July 9 and concludes July 20.

"It's hard to look at my own face for such a long time," Gallagher said, as she took a break from adding to the charcoal outlines of her face in a sketchbook.

Besides having to examine every contour of her face, the project is removing Gallagher, who moved to Catonsville from New Jersey after school let out, from her comfort zone.

An aspiring comic book artist, Gallagher said she usually doesn't work with color and called the prospect "interesting."

Eileen Fitzgerald, a co-director of the camp, said Gallagher's experience is typical of the 124 other students at the camp.

"It's 5.5 full hours of thinking and talking about art," she said. "They will walk out with more than one piece of art."

Fitzgerald, an art teacher at Glenmar Elementary School in Middle River, explained that every student, whether elementary-, middle- or high school-aged, gets three different art teachers each day.

Those teachers encouraged the young artists "to explore new materials, solve any problems and become better artists," she said.

While the younger artists dabble in several small projects, the high school students focus on fewer, more-intense projects, Fitzgerald said.

By the fourth day of camp, students had already produced drawings, sculptures, paintings and digital art.

The experience had already made an impression on Gallagher, who said she has begun analyzing shapes and colors through different eyes.

"I'm learning how to look at things from an artist's perspective," Gallagher said.

Getting to produce art and receiving feedback about it makes the one-hour bus ride to camp from Arbutus Middle School each morning worth it for Carson Amersbach, a sixth-grader at the middle school on Shelbourne Road.

Carson, a St. Denis resident, said he prefers drawing and painting but had also made collages, sculptures, landscapes and digital pieces.

A collage he had produced as a caricature of himself sat in one of the second-floor classrooms.

Carson, like his classmates, had created an image of himself with his head too big for his body and pieces of painted paper to color his face, hair and ears. A picture cut from of a magazine served as one of his eyes while he drew the other.