In a quiet neighborhood of Golden Gate, a painter perfects his craft. He studies Van Gogh’s works through books, analyzes a still-life of flowers, quickly creating it in a vibrant rendition of ruby pink and purple contrasts on his artist pad. He pours over his work, and does not retreat to sleep, until he is finished. It’s another day in the life of an emerging classical painter.
George Messina is constantly painting like this. He eyes his subject to paint, he places it into perspective, and energetically brushes his chosen colors on his canvas. It’s a natural process for Messina. Many of his works are presented as gifts to family and friends, while others are framed in his living room.
There’s one small exception to his delightful paintings. Messina is just eight years old. But his paintings look more like those from a painter five times his age.
The young artist will soon be a third grader at Golden Terrace Elementary School. He started painting at five years old, and his paintings have staying power as art enthusiasts are noticing his vibrantly moving colors in his works. For Messina, it’s not just a hobby, but an influenced calling by painters who walked before him.
His mother, Kelli, noticed her son’s zeal for painting, and quickly cleared a space for an artist’s studio in the back of their family’s home. George’s father, Eddy recognized what his son loved to do, and brought home leftover paint samples from his job as a professional painting contractor for homes in Naples. Eddy built a few easels so his young son and aspiring artist could paint in “plen aire,” (outside), as well as inside, in his family’s Florida room.
Today, George Messina’s paintings have caught the attention of the von Liebig Art Center, where Messina was invited to attend camp this summer. He aims to keep painting inspirational scenes and still-life paintings in his everyday routine, in between playtime in his backyard on his trampoline, or swimming practice at the pool of the Golden Gate Aquatic Center.
He’s always painted,” says Kelli Messina, smiling proudly, as she shares some of his work through photos she took of his paintings on her iphone. “He wouldn’t use a coloring book. He would color over every picture in the coloring book.”
“He started out drawing signs when we were out driving. He then would draw the emblem of the signs, when he came home,” said Messina of her son’s beginnings in drawing and painting.
Asked about what he planned on doing when he grew up, George replied, “Maybe I’ll have two jobs.” This young artist has a lot on his plate with his art camp this summer at von Liebig, and his upcoming trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his family will visit his grandfather, the aquarium, and some museums. “He loves museums and looking at art, too. He points to everything and he knows the artist who painted it, right away” Kelli Messina explains.
Drawing upon inspiration from artists in books his parents shared with him, George embraces the painting style of Vincent Van Gogh. His teacher, “Ms. Kelly” as he refers to her, at the Von Liebig Art Center, introduced Messina to the many paintings of Van Gogh through ongoing classes at the Von Liebig, too. Van Gogh himself, produced over two thousand paintings in his lifetime, and his painting is credited with the evolution of post impressionism within art history.
“He’s very passionate about it, and he won’t go to bed until it’s done,” says Kelli Messina. Given his eye for painting, the young Messina often borrows his mother’s camera to capture photos of scenes he wants to paint. From there, he paints what he photographs. Or sometimes he begins to paint by virtue of what he sees sitting in his living room, such as a vase of colorful flowers for a still life.
Instead of succumbing to boredom on his summer vacation, Messina is thirsty for more influence for his paintings. He’ll be visiting the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, on his family’s summer vacation. Maybe one day, Messina’s paintings will be in a fine art museum, too.
If you Go to Summer Art Classes for Children & Adults
von Liebig Art Center
585 Park Street
Naples, FL 34102