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Young local artist enjoys coloring her world, others’

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Nevels has been painting on walls sinceshe was 12.

She picked up her first paint brush around age 2 and her motherprovided her with the freedom she needed to hone her craft.

Four years ago, she began painting on her walls using acrylicpaint. The upcoming Brookhaven High School junior started withpainting panthers on her bedroom ceiling.

“I would always get paint for Christmas, and my mom didn’t mindwhat I did to my bedroom,” she said.

Soon her walls became filled with panthers, leopards, dragons,unicorns, flames and other mystical creations. Her next project isto design a purple and white checkerboard on her ceiling.

“I like everything to be a little bit different,” she said. “Idon’t like the average everyday things. I like to customize them tothe way I like them.”

Nevels, the daughter of Ralph and Sharla Nevels, is moving on toother walls in her home and walls in others’ homes, as well.

She recently painted on the bedroom and bathroom walls of Lanceand Christy Smith’s two daughters, Abagail and Isabelle.

Nevels said that when she paints for others, she tailors to herpatron’s wishes. In the Smith home, she painted a fairy tale castlescene, a tree and a brick wall. And Christy Smith said Nevels willhave future ventures painting in her son Nicholas’s room.

“It’s just amazing to watch her do it,” Christy Smith said. “Myson already has planned that he wants deer and anything to do withhunting in his room.”

For her talent, Nevels has been recognized with awards andhonors. She won an honorable mention from the 2001 U.S. SavingsBonds National Student Poster Contest, from the 2006 CentralMississippi Artist’s Guild, and in the Federal Junior Duck StampDesign Contest. She has also received art awards in school fromfirst grade through eighth grade, and she won second place in theBellSouth and Institutions of Higher Learning Poster and EssayContest.

“I like being recognized for something I’m able to do soeasily,” she said.

Nevels hopes to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College aftergraduation and then attend a university. She is undecided about acareer, but has thought about being an art

teacher or graphic designer, she said.

Her talent extends beyond painting murals. She also paintswatercolors, carves and sculpts. But her favorite is drawing with apencil on notebook paper, she said.

Seeing the end result is the best part of any project,especially murals, she said.

“When I finish I feel relieved, but I’m ready to start anotherone.”