Letter to a Young Artist


Dear little boy,

You may not have noticed, but I have been watching you grow.

I remember the first time you came into our art class. You were shy and quiet. You walked to the back of the room and sat at a table by yourself. When I gave you a pencil and a piece of paper, you told me you couldn’t draw.

When you came back the following week, I was happy to see you. Again, when I gave you paper and a pencil, you told me you couldn’t draw. I sat down and asked you to tell me about something you liked to do – something you were good at. You told me you liked to play soccer.

“Were you a terrific soccer player the first time you tried?

“No.” you said.

“How did you get better?” I asked.

“I practiced.”

“It’s the same thing with drawing, ” I explained, “the more you draw, the better you’ll get.”

The following week you were back again. This time, you sat at a table next to my husband, Richard. I saw how intently you were watching him draw. You asked him to draw a truck. I watched as you tried to draw one by yourself.

The next time I saw you at class, you were sitting with the group, drawing everything in sight. The stuffed animals on the table, flowers and butterflies – even copying images from the mural on the wall. I could tell you had been practicing – a lot. I sat down next to you and told you how amazing your drawings were – really beautiful.

“Hey, I thought you said you couldn’t draw!” I teased.

You looked at me and smiled.

The following week we sat at a table and drew pictures together. I complimented your work – “Wow, that’s a great hand. Hands are hard to do – I still have trouble with them, sometimes.” You looked at my drawing and asked how I got to be so good. “Practice,” I said, “Years and years of practice.”

When class ended, you hugged me.

Dear little boy, you are an artist.

Soon our class will be over and you may never see me again..

but the gift you found within yourself will be with you always.

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