Artist Spotlight: Kanaras finds inspiration through art


Lauren Becker

Junior Nicole Kanaras works on her latest self-portrait. Kanaras has been creating art since she was a child and plans to take AP Studio her senior year.

Junior Nicole Kanaras is filled with pride as she stands over her completed art project, which she labored over for hours. It is a dramatic self-portrait made of acrylic paints with varying black and white values. This is the piece she is most proud of.  

Even as a child, Kanaras had a passion for art and this has continued into high school. She was always coloring or drawing with a pencil in hand. In middle school, she presented projects in art and submitted them to the student art and poetry book.

Art gives Kanaras freedom and a passion for individuality. “I enjoy having more freedom to create what’s in my mind. I never really did well with being told how to create or what to create,” Kanaras said.

Kanaras’s favorite style of art is realistic and prefers to do her work in charcoal. “I like charcoal because it’s very dramatic and it can make people feel something,” Kanaras said.

According to Kanaras, realistic style drawings are particularly challenging because of all the different values you have to see. “People don’t realize that it’s not just all grey. There was usually about 50 different tones and shades in one drawing,” Kanaras said.

Values are the different shades and tone of each color. It’s how light or dark a color is, and the value of a color is important in getting a drawing just right.

“You know when a drawing is done because you can just feel it. It’s something about knowing that you don’t need to add anymore to get your thoughts on paper. It’s kind of like telling a story, and when you get to the end, you’re simply finished,” Kanaras said.   

Kanaras pulls inspiration for her projects from different aspects of her life. “Things I’ve been through inspire me, things [I] see out in the world and other artists,” Kanaras said.  

Kanaras currently takes Honors Studio Three with art teacher Erin Stellmon. She enjoys doing portraits in class, and the ability to make each project unique inspires her. “I think it’s because you can be anything you want to be, and no one can tell you how to do it or what it is supposed to look like. Art lets you be you. It’s like giving a piece of your soul to anyone who looks at it,” Kanaras said.

She plans to take Honors Studio Four later this year and AP Studio her senior year to further educate herself and learn more about what she loves.  

Lauren Becker is a News Editor for The Patriot and