WKU freshman creates watercolor art

Freshman Emmalee Lawrence majors in studio art and hopes to help others through art therapy. “In [art therapy] you can work in a hospital, prison or psychiatric ward and help those people cope with what they’re going through and express themselves through art,” Lawrence said. “For me, [art] is a therapeutic thing. When I create, even if it’s something I’m doing for someone else, it’s still very calming, and I think I can help someone else with that as well.”

Noah Moore

Freshman Emmalee Lawrence has been taking watercolor lessons since she was 9 years old.

Lawrence is a studio art major with a minor in psychology who plans to pursue a career in art therapy.

“I have been creating artwork for as long as I can remember,” Lawrence said. “Early on, my parents and teachers noticed I had a knack for art, and they’ve been encouraging me ever since.”

As Lawrence began to develop as an artist, she said she was introduced to various new mediums, such as charcoal, weaving and mixed media. In high school, she began painting sets for the theatre program and pushing her abilities to a larger scale. She took multiple advanced placement art classes in high school, which she said expanded her body of work and helped her to create a portfolio for college.

“I’ve always known that Emmalee would be an artist,” Kelly Lawrence, her mother, said. “She has always exhibited very advanced skills from an early age. I recall in kindergarten her teacher pulled me aside to show me her art and I was just amazed at the amount of detail. From that point on I did everything I could to encourage her.”

Lawrence has since been enrolled in Painting 360, Painting 260 and art history classes for her major, and has created a many paintings inspired by various things such as the Colonnades outside of the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center.

Among Lawrence’s favorites of her own work include “Smiles,” a portrait of an older man drawn by attaching charcoal to a stick, “Race Day,’”a piece featuring horses in watercolor inspired by the Derby and “Tiny Dancer,” a watercolor painting inspired by the African Children’s Choir’s vibrant personalities and colors.

“My favorite part about being an artist is having an outlet through the creating process,” she said. “There are so many endless possibilities on a blank canvas and it’s therapeutic to just be able to sit down and create. This gift that I have been given is meant to be shared. I truly want to use this to encourage others and give them that same opportunity.”

Her mother said she is hopeful that her skills will carry her to success, watching her grow as an artist from childhood to now. Her mother is proud of the artistic growth, but what she is most proud of is who Lawrence is as a person.

“Well there are two things that make me truly proud of her,” she said. “The first thing is that Emmalee has made it a habit of using her art to help others. She definitely tries to pay it forward. The second thing that makes me proud is that Emmalee is truly a humble individual. She is exceptionally talented but one would never know it. She’s never been a boastful or prideful person.”

As for Lawrence’s future in art, her mother said she has an affection for Disney and would love to work there, but could see her working at her own studio or in a classroom. Emmalee still plans on pursuing art therapy, but has advice for those considering pursuing art in the future.

“My advice is to keep practicing because it takes time and patience to improve,” Lawrence said. “Take all the lessons, classes and opportunities you can to enhance your work. Believe in yourself and have confidence because there is truly nothing you cannot do. If you have a passion and drive, go for it.”

Features reporter Noah Moore can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @noah_moore18.