Have you ever said to yourself that you are not an artist because you cannot draw a thing…not even a straight line? Well guess what? I say there is an artist in each of us. The art expressed by an artist is and should be unique. Often art is judged based upon some predetermined set of parameters.

I remember an art teacher once told me that my son was not really an artist. I inquired about how he had determined that by asking, “Was it because my son colored a tree purple instead of green?” Of course, I received a prolonged stare, and my son later said “Mom, you have just caused me to get a bad grade in my art class.” That is precisely the point I want to make. Not the point about a bad grade but a point about the fact that art is judged based upon a set of rules.

Sad but true it is how society and the systems within dilute the expression of the human being by comparing them to some standard rather than acknowledging their gifts of uniqueness.

Everyone is an artist. whether their expression is through a paint brush, a speech, a poem, a comedic act, a blog, a painting, a leadership role, a parent, their living, and on and on. We are all artists sharing our art and adding value to the world.

I recently attended a group painting class event. We were all asked to paint an angel and told that the instructor would lead us step by step in how to paint it. I took my canvas, the pallet of paints and decided I did not wish to paint an angel. I wanted to paint something that made my heart sing…and I did. I called it autumn leaves. The moments that followed my decision took me into a world of creation and freedom…time stood still as I painted. I am not an artist by art standards; but in the time that I was lost with a canvas, a paint brush and joy in my heart I can truly say I allowed the artist within me to create and express.

The art and the artist in each of us can only be united when we free ourselves to stop believing that another person has the answers on how to live our lives, how to become successful, how to color our world, how to paint an angel and how to express the way we experience living.

Take it from one who has chosen to paint her own Picasso in the colors of her choice. Living authentically is not always easy; however, I have experienced few personal regrets. The art of living may challenge the artist to discover the truth within themselves; and then, be willing to set it free in a world where experts, standards and conforming expectations constantly battle to win. You are your artist, live your art!

Patricia Leonard

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