Reviews

From Publishers Weekly  (Jan. 2, 2012)

This book of photographs (images) of young women and the art they have made illustrates the empowering, transformative, and joyful value of making visual art. Through peer questions and examples, it invites young people to immerse themselves in critical and creative thinking. Ages 7-17.

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From Midwest Book Review  “Children’s Bookwatch:December 2011″

Ideal for young adults ages 7 to 17, Portrait of a Girl and Her Art is filled cover to cover with vivid color photography of young women and the artworks they have made. The text includes the firsthand testimony of female artists and passages designed to stoke readers’ imaginations and inspire them to produce their own artwork. “Is there a book or movie that left a lasting impression on you? What ideas did it leave you with? Think of an essential theme or scene. How might you visualize it in a simple, straightforward way?” A motivational resource brimming with peer role models for girls, Portrait of a Girl and Her At is an excellent giftbook for budding young artists.

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From Synchronized Chaos Magazine

December 5th, 2011

[Reviewed by Sarah Melton]

“Portrait of a Girl and Her Art” is not about one girl, but several young female artists, as seen through the eyes of writer, teacher and illustrator Elena Caravela.  While it’s seldom wise to judge a book by the cover, in this particular case it’s feasible. The cover shows a very well-done collage of portraits, showing each of the girls’ unique and vibrant personalities. Upon reading the book (with my own daughter, age 10), we realized that the book expanded upon those portraits with the touching descriptions of each girl, quotes from the young artists themselves about their art, and examples of each of the girls chosen art forms, from paints to pottery to collage.

For adults, this book is a glimpse into the lives of these special girls, and a reminder of the raw, powerful emotions of our own adolescent years.  For children (particularly young girls with an artistic bent), it’s an inspirational book full of like-minded kids and a bevy of projects and creative ideas to incorporate into their own lives.  My daughter was particularly moved by a collage shown, and started making her own work in that medium within the week.

The most touching aspect of the book (to this reader at least) was hearing how art helped each of these girls through one aspect or another of their lives.  One girl used art to express her emotions with growing up amid hardships, where another wished to make others happy with her creations.  Rachel, an artist featured both in the book and on the writers website, stated: “You can draw what you feel and no one will ridicule you or tell you it’s silly.” Quotes like that speak volumes about the issues that affect today’s young artists, if not all youth, who are struggling to freely express themselves without fear of judgment or unworthiness in the eyes of adults and their peers.

This book would be a great gift to a young artist, particularly those who struggle with feeling validity or approval of their expressions, in whatever medium they choose.  Elena Caravela still continues to accept and feature youth artwork on her website, https://portraitofagirlandherart.wordpress.com, and hopes to continue inspiring young artists for years to come.  To learn more about the writer and her art, visit her website at http://www.elenacaravela.net/.

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Synchronized Chaos Magazine

January 5th, 2012

[Reviewed by J’Rie Elliott]

As a society we set a concrete definition for every word we use; the word art is defined as the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.  The book, Portrait Of A Girl And Her Art, by Elena Caravela took this definition the breaking point.

This breathtaking book is a combination of beautiful art and the beautiful girls who bring this art to life.  On first inspection of an art book, generally the reading of the words are surpassed by the overwhelming impulse to view the creative works held within the cover—this collection is no different.  The first eye catching piece I saw was not the actual art being displayed, but its creator; an astonishing young woman with eyes of a brilliant shade of aquamarine.  Her quote on her art was “When I finish a piece it feels like I have just given birth to a baby!”  Now this statement is probably more figurative than literal, however it does prove to make a point; to bring something from nothing, to fill space that was once empty with a thing of intrigue and beauty is art.

Every time I turned to a new page, my eyes were infiltrated with one amazing young female after another; while their art is impressive the portraits of the girls tell parts of their stories before you ever get the chance to see the expressions they created.  Seeing these faces start the story and then seeing their art fills in the blanks.

One of the endearing parts of this book is the ages of the girls within vary from very young child to young lady. One of the younger girls is a gorgeous African-American gem named Ayanna; her smile shows the imagination and creativity that is just bubbling beneath the surface.  While her art is juvenile in nature, the art she inspired is by no means juvenile.

Discovery is the title of one section of this art story– it is featuring a young woman by the name of Katherine; a striking face with emerald eyes, eye brow piecing and care-free hair.  Her art is in tune with nature and the world that surrounds her.  When discussing her art she said, “Think of things in a different way and show the importance of the seemingly insignificant.” To this writer, this line spoke volumes; we walk through this world with our eyes only half open and our minds always half closed – if we would just slow down to enjoy the amazing world around us art would become than just a word—it will be a lifestyle.

I definitely suggest that time is taken to view, read and enjoy this amazing collection of artistic works—if not for the art itself, than for the amazing depictions of its creators and the story it tells.

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