A budding artist

MHS freshman cultivates her own style

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Johanna Villarreal, 14, a freshman at MHS, is an aspiring artist. She enjoys drawing and sketching, and recently completed two paintings (pictured behind her), to be displayed in Associate Principal Deb Holsapple’s office. When Johanna finishes high school, she’d like to become an FBI agent.

When Johanna Villarreal, 14, transfered to Marshalltown High School at the start of the school year, she was seeking a fresh start.

“I came from Texas, and at that school, they just ‘passed’ you, but the teachers here really care,” Johanna said. “My mom had gone to school in Marshalltown, so she wanted me to come here and live with my dad.”

An amateur artist, the student finds her bliss when she’s able to create.

“When I was meeting with Johanna, she shared with me that she likes to do artwork. I asked her if she would like to do a piece or two for my office. She lit up, and agreed to do two pieces of artwork,” said MHS Associate Principal Deb Holsapple. “I gave her the two different canvas pieces to use. On the following Monday, she brought back one completed. She shared it was the first time she had worked with paints. It was beautiful. A week later, she brought me the other one.”

Using her imagination, Johanna painted a waterfall in one image, and a nighttime lake scene (complete with a canoe), in the other. The only art training she’s had is being currently enrolled in MHS’s introductory art course.

“I really don’t know how to paint, but I tried my best,” she said.

Holsapple said she believes in encouraging students to develop their talents.

“She has a talent and I hope that she will pursue it, be it for a career or for a personal hobby,” Holsapple said. “I’m very proud of her. She’s a great student and I appreciate having her artwork in my office, because it makes me think of her.”

In her spare time, Johanna likes to draw and sketch, go shopping and style people’s hair. As a budding artist, she watches YouTube videos to learn new techniques.

“I want to try drawing 3D holes and try spray painting,” the freshman said.

After high school, Johanna would like to go into law enforcement.

“I want to be an FBI [agent] because when I was 10, I used to watch ‘Flashpoint’, and they inspired me to be in the FBI,” she noted.

What else would she like to do with her life?

“I want to do community service and give back,” she said.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com