My wife Patty and I went up to Interlochen in northern Michigan last weekend, to teach a two day workshop at their facility for adult programs. In the hallway, I saw some works by students from the high school Arts Academy which really caught my eye for their skill. That portrait, above, has a great awareness of tonal harmony, don't you think? That, plus the observational skill, the nice mark marking (flat brush for the block shapes, thinner brush for the lines) ... if I were this student's teacher, I'd have given them an A.
Similarly, this more abstract looking painting of a lighted window at night has great brushwork, and a developed sense of how to make a painting with just a few colours. Considering the artists were teenagers, I was extremely impressed. I could definitely imagine hanging one of these in my own home.