A specific mood is always evident in Kirsty Wells’ paintings.

Wells, 18, usually paints upbeat, happy images with lots of bright, vibrant colours and drastic contrasts.

“There is less contrast and lighter colours and textures if I am sad or in a bad mood,” Wells explains.

Wells found her passion for art at a very young age. Even before Wells could spell the word passion, or understand the concept; even before Wells could ride a bike or tie her own shoelace, she knew how to colour.

As a toddler, Wells was always busy scribbling with her crayons or engaged in some serious finger painting.

“I was very fortunate growing up because my Mom was able to stay home and do crafts with me,” Wells grins.

Wells is constantly drawing, sketching and doodling when she doesn’t have her painting supplies at hand. It is soothing and even helps Wells concentrate while at school. Wells gives an example:

“If I am drawing a flower in History class and then I draw it again on the test, it can help me remember exactly what [the teacher] was talking about just by the same movement of my hand.”

By attending the Youth Art Enrichment Program in Dawson in 2006 and again in 2007 and taking art classes throughout her schooling as well as an art class held at Arts Underground, Wells has picked up many different techniques to use in her paintings.

Each artist that taught and inspired Wells has had an impact on Wells’ style.

“I have really started to branch out in my own style,” Wells says happily.

Wells feels her greatest teacher is herself because she learns the most by making mistakes. She is not afraid to keep experimenting until she ruins a painting completely. Sometimes the little things Wells considers as mistakes turn out to be things of beauty in the viewers’ eyes.

Wells loves to paint in great detail, but her paintings are not limited to just paints. In fact, Wells’ favourite painting is one of a gold pan with beads and real gold flakes incorporated into the piece.

This year, Wells’ school, Porter Creek Secondary, commissioned her for a painting of a section of the school. Wells has done other commissioned works as well.

Some buyers give her very specific details as to what they want in the picture and others leave her with more artistic freedom but, either way, Wells enjoys the process of each creation.

Wells does not need a quiet or calm atmosphere to paint. When Wells is inspired she goes directly into “Art Mode” where she can paint for six or seven hours straight without eating, drinking or even getting up to go to the bathroom. She won’t notice anything that is going on around her because she is completely absorbed in her work.

Many common events, images and concepts trigger Wells into art mode. Music has been known to inspire Wells and she once played a single song on repeat for hours, translating the notes into images and colours with her paints.

Recently, Wells was captured by the stunning magnificence of nature in the simple form of a dandelion.

Wells hopes to continue painting for the rest of her life. One possibility she is churning over in her mind is going to school for Art Therapy, a combination of psychology and art as a treatment.

“It’s just an idea,” Wells says with a shrug.