September 2, 2014
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Talented teen paints for Papa’s
Jennifer Rodrigues
Jennifer Rodrigues
PAINTING PRODIGY: Fourteen-year-old Alicia Censabella, who has been painting since she was 5 years old, says it takes her anywhere from six to 15 hours to complete one of her many pieces. The painting she did of Papa’s Ice Cream (in her hands) took about six hours to complete.

Alicia Censabella is excited to be expanding her artist’s repertoire to include painting in the impressionist style because it allows her more freedom to paint with softer lines and include human figures.

Censabella is only 14 years old and can already speak about art like a professional.

Censabella has been taking art classes at the Nancy Stephen Gallery and School of Art in East Greenwich since she was 5 and has been able to grow into a talented artist.

“My parents put me in [the class] and I really liked it,” said Censabella.

She explained that when she was in the children’s classes, she was able to try a variety of art projects. But now she is at an older level and has been able to focus on her love of painting.

“I stuck with painting,” said Censabella, adding that she also sketches sometimes. “It’s easier to draw with paint.”

The young artist truly dedicates time to her craft. Censabella takes classes year-round, a one-hour class once a week during the school year, and five hours of classes four times a week during the summer.

“This is the only camp I do,” she said with a smile.

Censabella says the time it takes to complete a painting varies. Her most recent piece, an impressionist style portrait of two people in an embrace, took her three days, or 15 hours of class time.

Censabella’s parents, Rob and Theresa, are impressed with the art their daughter can produce. They even have a large landscape she painted of a lake in Colorado above their mantel.

“I’m so incredibly proud of her. I know she gets no artistic ability from me,” said Rob, who added that he is blown away by every painting he sees. “It’s unbelievable every time.”

Rob also believes painting has helped his daughter in other areas of her life.

“The attention to detail has really helped her,” he said.

Also benefiting from Censabella’s talent is Paul Silva, the owner of Papa’s Ice Cream on West Shore Road.

The Censabellas have been regulars at Papa’s since their daughters were very young.

“We always look forward to our Papa’s,” said Ron.

“We usually always come for opening day and closing day,” said Theresa, adding the family visits every few weeks.

When she was in elementary school, Censabella painted a picture of an ice cream cone for Silva. He was impressed and began to ask Censabella when he would receive his next painting.

“It became a running joke between us,” explained Silva.

About two weeks ago, Silva received his next Censabella original – a painting depicting the Papa’s Ice Cream building at sunset. The painting is now sitting behind the counter at Papa’s.

“I was blown away by it,” said Silva.

“He was really shocked,” said Censabella.

Censabella normally works off of photographs, which she did for the Papa’s painting, but takes artistic liberty with details such as the sunset.

Although she has been studying art for over nine years, Censabella still has the opportunity to try new things. For example, she can now paint using a pallet knife, something she has only done twice.

“It was fun. I don’t usually do that,” said Censabella.

She started painting using acrylics but has since moved on to oils.

“You have to be really good at acrylics before you use oils,” explained Censabella.

Despite her love of painting, Censabella doesn’t think she will make art her life. The Toll Gate High School freshman is looking forward to starting high school and thinks she will study marine biology in the future.

But she will always keep art on the side.

“Right now, I am just doing it for fun. I don’t want it to be my main thing,” said Censabella.

The teen may spend a lot of time in the art studio, but she also does gymnastics, enjoys student council, and is interested in playing volleyball at Toll Gate.


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