North Texas Thrivers, January 2020

Never Give Up on Your Dreams

By Diana Kelley 
July 1, 2021

It all started late in the year of 2018. I was looking at some of my artwork that I had stored away from my college years, and this overpowering desire/need to paint started to arise in me. I was currently doing a Bible study on the book of Revelation that I had found on YouTube. So, I decided that YouTube was the perfect place to start, so I looked for information on acrylic art/artists. I found an acrylic paint pour demonstration and it piqued my interest. This type of painting was right up my alley“Abstract” from beginning to endfreedom to be in the moment and just enjoy. The more I studied this process and the different techniques, the greater my desire to try it grew. I said to myself, “I can do this. God gave me a mighty thirst to paint and this touched my mind and heart. I watched a lot of videos on how to do this type of painting, and soon I was ready to start. My journey to release my creativity had started.

“The Mountain,” completed in college, 1975
“Ish,” pen and ink, completed in 1990

In January 2019, I bought some supplies to start painting, but the doubt in my head took hold, and I found reasons to put it off. Finally, I listened to my heart and realized I just had to put something on the canvas and go from there. One day, I got up and said “This is the day.” I let go of my fear and painted. I have never looked back.

The more I painted, the more my heart was filled with joy and it seemed that I could hear God’s voice more clearly. My walk with God became stronger and it seemed that He was directing my steps in this journey. Something inside told me to start looking at this as a career and move forward, but uncertainty started to creep up again, because I was 67 years old. I thought to myself “Who starts a business at this age?”  As I was struggling with this concept, I continued watching other acrylic artists on YouTube, learning as much as I could about the process. I continued to paint almost every day. My longing for knowledge about different techniques reinforced my desire to paint. In my search for knowledge, I came across an interview by Casey Corbin with Sandra Lett (an acrylic paint pour artist). She discussed how she dealt with her art career and being a Christian. She mentioned a man named Matt Tommey and his mentorship program. I watched an interview with her and Matt. Later that week, I saw a Thriving Christian Artists facebook post. Something inside me said I needed to join, so I did. Such an amazing group of Christian artists. This was my first “yes” to my journey, my art career.

“Mountain Stream,” January 2019. Painted as a gift.
“Glacier,” September 2019. Painted as a gift.
“Dreams of Monet,” January 2019. Painted as a gift.

My life started to change. In September, I saw a post from Matt about raising an army of Christian artists and his Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. I checked it out and I knew in my heart that this was what I was looking for. I did not hesitate. I joined his mentoring program that week. This was my second “yes” to becoming the artist I was meant to be. The information I found in Matt’s Mentoring group did three things for me. First, it helped me discover and start to understand the connection between my art and my faith. Second, I had a lot to learn about the ins and outs of managing my time between creating art and starting a business. Third, the sound advice presented in the mentoring program was available for me to use at any time that was right for me. Just what I needed on my journey of discovery.

Also, through this mentoring program, I found a group of Christian artists in Dallas-Fort Worth called North Texas Thrivers. I got up the nerve to attend one of their meetings and was so glad I did. The women in this group gave me just what I neededencouragement, kindness, a spiritual lift, and conversation about being a Christian artist. As we shared our work, we found that we had a lot in common. 

In December 2019, our group started making plans to have an art event. In January, the plans became reality and a venue was found. A date to showcase our artwork was finalized for April 2020, and it was going to be our debut as Christian Artists. Showing my art to the public made me excited and nervous all at the same time. In February, a flier was completed and ready to be sent out. Then in March everyone’s world changed. Covid hit and our plans were canceled. I was disappointed, but trusted in God’s perfect timing. I filled my days with painting and reacquainting myself with the world of art. 

2020 gave me time to gain a better understanding of myself and how I approach life as an artist. I always knew that abstract art was my first love, but what was my focus? I soon learned that I loved learning about different techniques of painting regardless of the medium I used, but most of all, I loved creating something new and different. How I approached painting was the key. But my style goes far beyond this simple statement.

Intuitive is the way I paint. It involves having an ability to understand or know something without direct evidence of the way a painting is going to end. Allowing myself to step into the world of the unknown and follow what my instincts tell me. My inner awareness responds to what feels right as I put down each layer of paint, letting go of any perceived ideas, living in the moment.  All I have to do is listen to that inner voice and create. Abstract means I have the freedom to use a variety of techniques when creating – using shapes, color, marks, and texture to achieve an effect pleasing to my visual reality. My expressionist flare gives me the freedom to distort reality, breaking away from the literal representation of nature by using exaggeration and fantasy to convey my emotions. My style of creating uses all three styles of paintingIntuitive, Abstract and Expressionism.

When you combine my style of painting with my experiences in life, a personal connection to each painting exists. I am an intuitive abstract artist with a flair for expressionism.

Once I realized who I was as an artist, I decided to go forward with my website,

Next month, join me as I discuss my first art show.

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