“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

When I slid my first brush across a blank canvas, it sparked my passion for painting.

I spent hot summer days in my mom’s art studio working away as Allen Levi’s voice drowned out the chirping cicadas. Each time I perfected a flower petal, I transformed from an anxious adolescent into a calm creator. As I dotted fluffy clouds of pink and blue, I forgot about my troubles with mean girls at school. My spirit connected to God, and my shallow breaths subsided. Painting gave me peace.

Painting also gave me perseverance. I discovered how to turn any mistake on my page into something beautiful. I took my middle school troubles and reshaped them into the courage to move to a new school and make new friends. Painting gave me the freedom to reimagine my frame.

I want my life to inspire creativity in others. I want to use art to encourage personal growth. I want to create community among those who feel isolated. I want to show others they don’t need to look like someone else when they are beautiful in God’s eyes. And in the process, I want to transform from a blank canvas into who my Creator is making me to be.

— Kelley Thorne