When dipping your toes into art, in any form, it can be intimidating! As pottery painters, painting watercolor on paper or even acrylic on canvas, is different and uncomfortable. However, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is how we GROW, as both artists and individuals.

This year, we were introduced to a local watercolor artist and immediately became HUGE fans. She’s magical, and inspiring, and all the things you want your friends in the community to be. Bella wanted to “dip her toes” into pottery painting, and we were more than happy to provide her with everything she needed to apply her beautiful artistry to pottery. We asked her to share a little bit about herself, and what her first try at pottery painting was like. See Bella’s response below, and you’ll quickly become huge fans too.

“My name is Bella Taylor. I am 11 years old and am in 6th grade. I am Student Council President of Weinberg Elementary School this year, and lately I have been getting involved in lots of new activities, but my favorite will always be art! I have drawn and painted for fun for as long as I can remember. I have one sister, Ari, and two brothers, Gabe and Liam. We also have a new puppy, Jojo, and two outdoor cats, Clementine and Moonshine. We live on acreage, and we have planted almost 50 trees and a big vegetable garden in our yard.

One of the first things you might notice about me is that I was born with only one hand. Living with one hand isn’t very hard at all, because I haven’t experienced having two hands. So far, the only things that are difficult for me are styling my hair and doing pushups.

I love sports and hanging out with my friends. Other than art, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, playing cello, tennis, working out, and musical theater. I am playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid Jr. with Center Stage Academy this summer.

I’ve loved art basically ever since I was a toddler. My mom told me that I colored in the lines ever since I was two years old haha. I have been sketching and painting and creating ever since.

My mom was the first one in the family to take an interest in watercolor. She watercolored some pictures of fruit for our kitchen, but then moved on to other projects. I wanted to learn how to paint with watercolor, so she let me play around with hers. My mom thought about buying a custom watercolor portrait of our family from a professional, but the price was more than she wanted to pay. That year, for Christmas, I painted her a portrait of our family and surprised her. She loved it, and she put it on the refrigerator. Lots of her friends asked about having theirs painted too, so that is how my business got started! I started selling portraits in June 1 ,2019 and have been kept pretty busy ever since.

My process is pretty simple. I start with a light sketch on my watercolor paper. Sometimes I trace shapes to help with positioning and proportion to the background, but other times I freehand or change the perspectives.

After I sketch, I ink it lightly going over the sketch with a pen. The last part is to watercolor it! I like to keep faces simple and focus on body position and outfits to make it personal. I like to highlight details that are significant to my customers, like certain background or outfit details, halos over deceased family members, certain props or background elements.

I really love Kody Stewart’s work. I love how beautiful and simple it is. My work is inspired by hers.

I sometimes get creative block and have to take a break from art. When I restart, everything seems fresh again.

I loved painting on pottery. It was a fun and interesting project. I had to focus, and I loved that! The process was a 5-step process for me starting with sketching, then inking, painting, touch-ups, and then background. One challenge I had was with the white background. With my watercolor portraits, I leave the background plain or paint a simple, colorful background. Having to paint the background white was a little challenging.

What I enjoyed the most was putting the color on my characters. I was so excited to see what it would look like after it was fired in the kiln. It’s kind of like a surprise, because you don’t know how it will turn out. I loved seeing the piece come to life with all of the colors!

To someone afraid to paint, honestly, I would say to try it, see what you did like and what you could do better, and practice. That’s what I do, and almost every time I learn something new and that’s how you improve.”