Featured Talent: Bella Epstein


Bella Epstein

This painting of strawberries is part of Bella Epstein ’19’s AP Studio Art portfolio

Bright colors, sprawling landscapes, and watercolors that bleed into intricately planned blotches and blocks: one of many recipes senior Bella Epstein uses to create her unique artwork. In her AP Studio Art class, she creates piece after piece to complete an extensive portfolio she will submit at the end of the year. This is not only the culmination of her year’s work, but a path she has been following her whole life.

“I had a very art centered childhood,” Epstein said. “I went to an arts preschool and I did a lot of creative activities with my mom. In elementary school, I always looked forward to art class…I think I got a lot more serious in junior high when I started taking art classes outside of school. They helped me realize how much I love art and that I wasn’t half bad at it.”

Every artist faces the pressure to find their own niche in the art world. Varieties of supplies, subjects, and styles pose the challenge of discovering works best. Epstein has used charcoal, acrylic, pencil, and many other mediums in her art, but finds watercolor to be her favorite.

“Even though it was frustrating to not have a solid style and medium, I still love to experiment and try new things,” Epstein said. “There are so many different art forms and mediums to try, and it’s exciting to get out of my comfort zone…I love working with watercolors. I find them very relaxing and I always come back to them. I almost always paint nature, and I like to use vibrant colors…I want my art to convey the beauty of nature. I think it is so important to love and honor the nature around us, and I guess I do that by trying to capture its beauty.”

In AP Studio Art, students spend the year creating a portfolio of 24 different pieces of high-quality artwork, 12 of which showcase the breadth of the students’ talent and 12 of which are dedicated to a specific style of piece. This is Epstein’s second year taking the class.

“Last year [the class] was really to experiment with different things and kind of find my mojo,” Epstein said. “This year it’s me painting new subjects. I’m not super into focusing on one thing for the concentration part of the portfolio. I don’t like that because last year I ended up painting so many landscapes, and while I love painting landscapes, it just got so repetitive and annoying. I think for my goal [this year] is to have a concentration but keep it exciting for me.”

The workload of the AP Studio Art class, while not tedious, requires intense dedication and passion from students to create a strong portfolio on time. Epstein remains successful by never leaving around loose ends.

“There have been a few paintings, like the strawberries, that have taken me so long,” Epstein said. “One accomplishment for me is that I finish almost everything so I don’t just start something and leave it.”

Epstein plans to use the techniques she has developed in the class and her lifelong love of the subject to pursue a career in teaching art.

“I want to teach art to kids and help them create and imagine,” Epstein said.