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Sunday 17 December 2017
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11-year-old masters the art of painting

BIG WINNER: Zara Thomas with some of her paintings and awards.

On the walls of the Thomas home in Santa Cruz are beautiful and detailed paintings of people, landscapes and objects. But what is so remarkable about this art work is that all of it was done by a ten year-old.

Newsday Kids met the very talented Zara Thomas for an interview at her home last week. Her parents Carl Thomas and Michal Sturge-Thomas showed the collection of her work and scores of paintings.

Now 11, the Standard Five student of Sacred Heart Girls’ RC has been doing art since about age four. She recalled one day she was bored and pulled out a whiteboard and started drawing a woman. Her father could not believe she had produced that quality of work in just half an hour.

“And I was amazed. I said ‘Zara you did that?’” Thomas said.

Her mother said she began doing art at home and one of her first pieces was a snow cone cart in water colours.

“At her age (the quality) was surprising.”

Zara’s parents decided to find someone to hone her talent and she began private lessons with art teacher Anne Marie Garcia at Marli Street, Port of Spain. Zara said she found the art classes easy, though sometimes it was hard to get certain details in painting.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Zara Thomas with her Mona Lisa painting.

Of the various mediums, Zara likes acrylics the most because she finds it easier to handle. She paints every Friday, down from her regular twice a week because she has started lessons for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam.

She takes about an hour to complete a piece, though sometimes longer. She finds painting relaxing at times, and at other times it is stressful because she cannot get things like the colour just right. Zara prefers landscapes and objects as she finds it difficult at times to get the proportions of people.

On the dining table there were a number of certificates, medals and a few trophies Zara won for her art. Most were from NGC Sanfest 2014, her first ever competition and where she also won a trophy for Best Artist Primary. She also had a trophy from the first place in Society of St Vincent de Paul Frederic Ozanam Art Competition in 2017. Zara said when she shows her friends at school her paintings for Sanfest they are always shocked by how good they are.

“They say ‘wow’.”

Thomas said he has not had her daughter enter many competitions as they wanted her to do art more for enjoyment. He said lately they have started to push her to do competitions so she can see a purpose for her art.

He said she is very strong willed and very hard on herself when it comes to her work. He does not mind that because she is striving for excellence and they want to encourage that.

AN EXPLOSION OF ART: Zara Thomas and her brother Xavier show off their work at their home in Santa Cruz. Photos by Sureash Cholai

“It shows her passion for art.”

Her six year-old brother Xavier was inspired by her and he had begun doing paintings, a number of which he proudly showed to Newsday Kids.

Zara said she does not want to become a famous artist because she does not like a lot of attention. She is not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she is hoping to attend Bishop Anstey High School after SEA.

Her parents plan to host an exhibition of Zara’s work in May, though they said they will have a hard time choosing the pieces from her many works.

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