Wielding a palette knife dabbled with oil paint, Makenzie Orange creates a layered landscape. Hunched over the canvas, hands steady in concentration, is how Orange has spent two hours a week for the last five years.
The 13-year old Newburgh, Indiana, native has taken classes with Cynthia Watson, owner of Cynthia Watson Art Studio and art school Art From the Heart, in Welborn Plaza Downtown, since she was eight.
“It’s like therapy,” says Orange. “At the end of the week after you’ve had all your work, you paint and relax and it’s really fun.”
Since joining Watson’s studio, Orange has learned more than basic art theories and techniques. The eighth grader at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Newburgh has entered shows in New Harmony and at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. She’s also sold hand-painted cards, canvases, and prints at local markets — including First Fridays at Haynie’s Corner.
Watson’s goal is for students to learn how to be professional artists. Besides selling art, students make portfolios, matt, and practice signatures.
“I truly believe we are always learning until we die,” says Watson, an artist for more than 35 years. “No one helped me that way, so I want to show them everything I know through experiences.”
Watson also has helped Orange discover an emotional outlet through color, especially her favorite color — green. “Color is important because the color shows how vibrant it is and the vibe of the picture,” she says. “You can really express your feelings on paper.”
As Orange continues to learn, she looks to the Christmas season for her next big breakthroughs and lots of green paintings of course. “I hope to sell a few more originals,” she says. “With Christmas coming up, it’s also a good time for Christmas cards.”
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