Melinda Looney, 12

“I have always liked crafts and art supplies. In preschool when everyone would be playing with dolls or toys, I always chose to draw with crayons (every day). Throughout elementary school, my favorite class was art. I loved it and always looked forward to it. In kindergarten, some of my work got into the district show and the UC Blue Ash art show. My  art teacher played a significant role in this; she was amazing and very inspirational, giving me confidence in my art. I was very close to her.

“After that first art show, I decided to keep doing art. In first grade, I was in the district art show again. From then on, I made it my goal to get into the show every year until I graduated. I did end up meeting that goal though some years I had more pieces than others.

“But I guess this all started with my dad’s mom. She was the artsy one. We actually have all her paintings and art supplies now. My parents were not that into art, but my dad knew how to draw a horse, which I would always be fascinated by as a child.

“As I grew older, I got to know my grandmother even more. She gave me paint sets and markers as well as other art supplies every year as gifts. I remember how she loved painting flowers and birds; she was very into the nature aspect. I find that a lot of her ideas appear in my work: I love painting flowers, and my work is often influenced by nature, though I prefer drawing over painting.”