Artist Candace Waters, a bright-eyed redhead with a flair for color and design, has produced attention-grabbing painting.
The 13-year-old daughter of Robert and Sandy Waters of Park Ridge, Ill., “Candy,” who is non-verbal and has severe autism, has had her artwork featured on the covers of two magazines. She has also been the focus of stories in The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.
“Even though Candy is unable to communicate through words and has trouble interacting with others, she expresses herself through her paintings,” her father said. “Her art has inspired people and raised autism awareness around the world.”
“Most importantly, her paintings give people hope,” Sandy Waters said. “We feel Candy is giving all of us a unique little glimpse into her world.
“Her paintings allow us to see what she sees and feel what she feels. As you can see by her beautiful paintings, it must be a bright happy world.”
Candy has been creating works of art since she was 6. A teacher sent her home with some materials and asked her parents if she could paint.
“We didn’t think she could but she did, and sure enough, one of her first paintings sold for $100 in a local gallery,” Mr. Waters said.
Her radiant style of paintings show an uncommon understanding of how colors can blend and compliment.
“When she paints she becomes very happy and laughs which is priceless,” her father said. “We are so proud that Candace is able to express herself through her art.”
Several of Candy’s prints (the family keeps the originals for sentimental reasons) have sold for $300-$800. Her work hangs in Park Ridge City Hall, the Chicago office of state Senator Dan Kotowski Chicago office and the office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s, also in Chicago.
Candy’s “Ray of Hope” painting graces the newly constructed Dan Marino Foundation’s campus in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Prints of her paintings are for sale through the Kind Tree-Autism Rocks Foundation and We Are Lions. Half of all proceeds from the sales of the prints go to help others on the autism spectrum fulfill their dreams of becoming artists.
The UC Irvine Magazine (University of California) used Candy’s “Mr. Sun” painting for the cover of their summer 2013 issue that highlights the university’s efforts to help those affected by autism.
Fox Chicago News & ABC 7 Chicago News have done special segments on on her and Autism Speaks recently did a blog on her art.
Inspired by Candy, Robert and Sandy have created an Autism Awareness Radio Show, “The Candy Store,” on Blog Talk Radio.
“Our mission is to increase autism awareness and compassion for those with autism and to empower other parents with knowledge,” Candy’s parents said in an email.
“We reach out to other parents who have a child with autism to let them know that they are not alone and to never give up Faith, Love & Hope.
They also wrote a song for Candy titled “Faith, Love & Hope.”