TRAVERSE CITY – Olivia Bishop, 14, is the daughter and granddaughter of artists.
One of her earliest memories dates back 11 years. She is with her grandmother, Joni Braun of Elk Rapids, who is showing her how to paint with watercolors.
A family video captures another early art event in Olivia’s life. She’s about the same age, tearing gift wrap off a box from grandfather David Bishop. It is full of quality brushes, paper and watercolors. Her mother, Lindy Bishop, gives the little girl a glass of water.
“And she began painting right there,” her mother said.
Fast forward to the present. Olivia is now 14, a freshman at Traverse City West Senior High School and juggling many things — classes, homework, track, painting, activities.
Over spring break she completed three 30-by-12-inch and 30-by-40-inch paintings of horses and stable scenes she had been working on to include in her mother’s month-long April exhibit of 16 paintings at the City Opera House. The show, called “ Williamsburg at the Opera,” focused on rural landscapes, farming and connections between land and people.
Olivia’s artist statement was posted next to her mother’s on a wall.
“I guess you could say I’m the right kid in the right environment,” she wrote “Something you don’t see very often is a 14-year-old trying to put herself out the art world.”
Olivia sold the two 30-by-12-inch paintings and has been commissioned to do a painting by someone who saw her work in the show.
What draws her to art?
“I love being able to capture something on canvas and choosing a color palette,” she said. “It’s a great way to express creativity.”
Painting is only one of Olivia’s passions. The 5-foot-11-inch ninth-grader also plays on the high school basketball, volleyball and track teams. Two weeks ago, she broke the freshman girls’ high jump record with a 5-foot-2-inch leap.