The Artist Knows as IzzI

(The following article was written by my daughter, Dawn, about her daughter, Isabelle, and posted on
starkacres.blogspot.com on March 30, 2012)

It’s been clear that Isabelle was full of artistic ability since she was a very little lady. She was
intrigued by shapes and colors early on (also great white sharks but that’s another story entirely). Of
course, most kids go through a shape obsession phase because those are some of the earliest patterns they
learn to recognize. Shapes and colors are reinforced in most children’s books, shows and toys – hard to
imagine an episode of Sesame Street without seeing shapes floating across the screen! However, as I
compare her to my other children it is easy to see how different her interest was from the beginning.
 
I’ll never forget how she described one of her early visits to Disney World – “we stood on
this orange circle”, “we sat in a blue square”, “we walked down a yellow rectangle” – everything was
identified by its shape and color. Oh the paper this child has used to exercise her skills and it all started
with circles, squares and triangles! And she practiced them – over and over and over again. There were
never enough shapes and they were never perfect enough for Isabelle.
 
Then there was the time we took her to Guatemala to meet her baby brother and sister. She was
a mere 5 years old the first time she used a passport. But, my fearless and bold little girl did not care
much for life outside of America. She spent the week drawing images that reminded her of the United
States. She filled up pages with drawings of eagles, flags, currency and even government buildings!
Two years ago we took a cruise and once again I noticed how Isabelle absorbed the world around
her and went immediately to work communicating through her art. The need to express what she sees
is really remarkable! My other kids would look out over the never-ending ocean and talk about how big
it was while Isabelle would focus on the colors she was seeing. After every island adventure she would
return to the cabin and recreate her day through pictures. It was almost as if she was driven to record the
mental images, like she just had to get them down on paper. I remember watching her through the week
thinking, this is really who you are! You are an artist!
 
It’s not just drawings either, she works in several other forms already. She especially loves to
work with clay; just recently she molded all the Mario and Angry Bird characters. Izzy has always been
an (obsessive) rock collector, which is probably putting it mildly! I’d hate to guess how many pounds of
rocks are hidden away under her bed and in her closet. From polished gemstones to average landscaping
rocks, she is always looking for the next addition to the collection. Her eyes are constantly on the ground
looking for an unseen treasure to use creatively in a project, whether it be a unique flower, a bird’s feather
or yet another rock.
 
Isabelle literally practices for hours every day, always creating whether it is crafting, drawing
or painting. I remember my mom forcing me to practice the piano for 30 minutes every day AND I
HATED IT! But, I never have to say any such thing to Isabelle. She practices because it is her passion;
expression through art it is simply how she views the world.
 
We just found out this week that she has been selected as a finalist in the State of Illinois IDOT
calendar contest. She also won last year, so we had not expected that she would have been selected
again. It’s very exciting and I am thrilled that her talent is being recognized at such a young age. We
will travel to Springfield, IL in May to attend the award ceremony and find her exact placement in the
contest. Last year she was 2nd in her age category and her art was printed in the annual calendar. I hope
that these early achievements give her the confidence to pursue her passion, although I am not sure that
my artist really needs the validation to continue down this path.
 
A few years ago Isabelle decided that she needed to use an artist signature when she signed her
work. She came up with IzzI, so that her name was the same both forward and backward. So, I would
like to tell my little IzzI, that I am so proud of you! I love being a witness to your destiny unfolding
and simply cannot wait to see all the wondrous creations you will make in the coming years. You are
amazing ~ I love seeing the world through your eyes. Never stop living your dream!

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