This exhibit, led by professional teaching artist, Linda Pullinsi, was created by nine young girls ages 13-17 residing at a residential shelter in Phoenix. Exploring the theme of “True Colors,” the young women created trees to represent their identities. These paintings provide a glimpse into their unique experiences.
Strong and Dark
Evie, Age 13
Trees are strong and live wise and long. No one notices how important they are until they are gone. The trunk resembles each and every one of us. We all have the capability to be steady and take our ground, but any day someone can chop us down. It will take time, but we can rise back up, and protect the ones we care about. Love everyone but be careful who you trust. You have a reason just like any tree. Don’t just exist, live. Art is deeper than how it looks or sounds. Anyone can be an artist, and everyone has a different artistic style.
Loving the Dreams
Rhylie, Age 15
When I paint, I paint with passion. When I paint, I think of beauty. When I paint, I think of a girl who took my heart. When I paint, I paint with joy. When I paint, I paint with sadness. When I paint, I think of me and her. I felt good while I was painting because I got to express my feelings. What I learned is to express yourself with your painting because then you get so much out of it.
Trees Are Part of Me
Maia, Age 13
I miss that tree in my front yard, that big giant tree. That tree changes with the seasons, as I change myself throughout the seasons. I change my clothes, my thoughts, and my food. I change from being cold to being warm. I also change my feelings, my perspective, and my view. That tree in my front yard is something to lean on when I go to my hiding spot, to see the stars I look at with that big tree in my view. Then I think of all the memories I had with that tree. Then finally I realize that trees are part of me. I learned different techniques of art in this workshop. I also learned to put my emotions in my work. I will also remember this workshop whenever I think of trees.
Who I Am
Ysena, Age 15
I’m tall, I’m brown but I can be green or grey. I’m always looking down at what seems to be a person walking around. I’m not perfect nor will I ever be. I’m happy because I’m perfectly imperfect. This workshop and painting made me feel focused and feel like a tree, not because I’m tall, but it made me feel colorful, alive and clever as I create.
The Apple Tree
Elizabeth, Age 14
One day the tree died. That tree made me miss my big bro. Did I mention that I loved that tree? My brother loved that tree.
I miss my brother. He also makes me laugh and makes me so happy.
I chose extra parts to my painting because it shows potential and is inspirational. I learned out of this workshop that no matter what happens, put as much color and detail you want.
Megan, Age 17
Tall, strong, deep, sturdy, supportive, as it seems. Its ever changing story never stops growing. It flows with the wind as it comes and goes, perhaps wise, yes, being on its own for a while, sheltering saplings from the storms, but having no shelter for itself. Although the storms were frequent and damaging, it only helped the tree to grow stronger. Insightful, mysterious, wise, passionate, reflective. Old, sad, miserable, in pain, broken, ugly. Out of all the things you could say about it, all it will ever be is a tree. A wise, strong, reflective, mysterious tree. I learned to be open and express my emotions through art. I learned about life and color.
Trees Like Me
Emily, Age 15
There is beauty in all things, but we see only the beauty we want to see. If we look hard enough, we can find in all things the beauty we want, but we have to want to look for the beauty, want to find the beauty to see the beauty. I learned that there are more ways to paint than just with a brush. I learned about mixing, sponging, and stencils. So many new techniques, I didn’t use more than my paint brush, but I have learned a lot. Drawing my picture made me feel separated, calm, and independent. I love drawing because I don’t need friends to draw, but can draw your own friends.