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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Artist finds creativity in minds of children

      She writes and produces a monthly instructional drawing program for cable television, creates step-by-step how-to-draw videos and teaches a drawing class for the kids at area libraries.
    During the 1980's and 90's, Mendell was a leading local fashion designer, doing work for nearly all the area's department stores.
    She's drawn CD artwork for Willie Nelson and has penciled numerous celebrity portraits, like Bill Cosby, John Mellencamp, and The Beach Boys, some autographed by the stars themselves.
    Her own pieces cover a broad spectrum of media from watercolor, pencil drawing and clay, to wire sculpture and dimensional pieces.
    Her palette has sometimes yielded colorful results. She once entered an art contest submitting a watercolor of a cheetah lounging in a tree, but the work was briefly disqualified.
    "They thought it was a photograph," she said of the piece, which eventually won first place out of 2,000 entries.
    Despite Mendell's full canvas, her newest masterpiece in progress, the Children's Art Academy in Fort Thomas is one she plans to perfect.
    "I want to turn it into a school" she said. "Add some teachers and see it grow."
    She says she eventually wants to hold art shows displaying the kids' creations and turn some their designs and drawings into a coloring book.
    "Keep working with the children to develop their talent, " she said. "That's the most import thing."