When picking out gifts for Park Avenue Elementary School third grader Alyssa Balsamo, her family only has to think of one word: art. Art is Alyssa’s favorite subject, and she always looks forward to getting art supplies for her birthday.
“Art is one of my favorite things,” said Alyssa, who turned 8 last month. “It kind of calms me down and makes me feel better when I draw. I find it really fun that I get art supplies for my birthday because I get to do art activities on my birthday, and that makes art feel more special each year.”
Alyssa recently completed a complicated drawing of a squirrel in Julie Cosco’s art class. The project took about three classes to complete. First students drew their squirrel and outlined it in permanent marker. They used washable brown marker to create texture lines and then brushed water over the brown marker to make a watercolor wash. The students added colorful leaf rubbings to the background, and finally used black and brown crayons for contrast and shadows.
“From what I have observed since September, Alyssa is really in tune to art,” Ms. Cosco said. “She is an eager learner who carefully observes my demonstrations and then flourishes on her own. Her artistic ability coupled with her kind demeanor makes her a wonderful role model for her class. I can’t wait to see what creates next!”
Alyssa has been working on her art at home too. She watches online tutorial about subjects like shading and 3D shapes. She also checks out pop artists online for inspiration. Alyssa said a career in art might be in her future.
“I want to be an artist when I grow up,” Alyssa said. It looks like a really fun job. I might even want to be a book illustrator, but I don’t want to write books. The pictures are what really makes a book a book. You can really tell what’s going on from the pictures.”
A book about Walt Disney inspired Alyssa to do more cartooning, which she also enjoys.
“I really enjoy Disney because all their cartoons and songs just make me feel so good,” Alyssa said. “Sometimes I even pause the movie and just draw little things from it or get inspired to draw new characters.”
Recently, Alyssa has started doing paintings at home with acrylics and watercolors. She said now that she’s getting older and less messy, her mom is letting her do more kinds of artwork at home.
“”I like acrylic paints because they’re smooth and very opaque and you can blend well with them,” Alyssa said. “With watercolors, you can blend super well with them and you can make different shades by just adding a little bit of water or a lot, so I find that really interesting.”