Confident Curls

This artist shows bright personality in her award-winning painting

Both in her art and her music, Isabel Peralta lets her imagination run wild. She sees art as a challenge. The 16-year-old from Reno, Nevada, hopes to someday find a way to tie her creativity to a career in engineering.

What inspired this award-winning painting?

I was searching for a new hairstyle and saw an online article called, “Crazy Hair Transformations That You Will Absolutely Love.” I was amazed by how the article’s subjects wore their hair in such bold and expressive ways. I don’t like to draw attention to myself. I figured if I didn’t have the confidence to wear my hair like that, I could at least paint it.


Why is the subject looking down?

Most people would think a pose like this suggests shyness. But I loved how that doesn’t apply here. The girl is smiling and seems completely comfortable. Her pose shows her hair is wild, but it’s no big deal.


How did you use pattern?

I created a pattern in the curls to give the girl’s hair texture and volume. Each swirl looks like a spring and seems like it will pop out at you. The swirls add energy and definitely make the hair the focal point. I made sure to create the sweater with flat color and simple lines so it wouldn’t compete with the hair.

What was your working process?

I used pencil to outline the hair and the face. I painted the sweater, and then moved on to the face and the hair. I added the darker colors first, and then added the lighter ones. To make the curls, I put dark pink, purple, and light pink on a brush, set it flat on the canvas, and turned it. To finish, I painted the glasses and the background.


What was the most challenging part?

I was so into painting the hair that I totally forgot to paint the background. Painting out of order was challenging. I didn’t want the background to feel like an afterthought.


Do you have any advice for aspiring artists like yourself?

Throw the rules out the window, try new things, and get in touch with your creativity. Just go for it.


Isabel won a Gold Medal for her painting in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

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