By Ahmet Abdulaziz …

Frequently I come across people who admire painting and drawings, and express deep sorrow that they cannot draw.

They do have their own reasons to say so but I do not believe them. I believe that every human being is an artist (painter) by birth. This is the gift given to each and all of us by nature.

Art in all its forms is rather a way of expression. Each one of us has got a God gifted way to express ourselves. Artists (painters) express themselves by drawing and/or by using colours. The artists that we see around us are in fact those who repeatedly draw and paint. This is how they excel, and become capable of expressing themselves on paper or canvas or on any other surface through different mediums.

The presence of some of those who excel in drawing and painting does not mean that the rest are not artists, or they cannot draw or paint. I believe that they all too can draw and paint.

However what distinguishes the rest from the artists is the fact that they had not repeatedly worked to explore the depth of their natural talent. That’s the only difference, in my opinion.

Now the question arises as to why they did not repeatedly try. This is the area which requires a deeper discussion, as the reasons differ from person to person.

We all know that a child draws by himself on paper, before learning to write. Is this not a proof of his/her being a natural artist? Children do like to colour, with pencils, crayons and whatever they find. They even try to draw or colour the walls if they do not find paper. I doubt if someone tells me that some children do not do that. In fact they all do.

Then what happens is that most of the same children, who were born with the talent of drawing and painting stop doing the same when they grow up. But at the same time some of them continue .

Let me give you a personal example. Way back during the early 1960s when I was in primary school, my father taught me how to draw a portrait. So I drew a small face on a page by pencil, and showed it to him. He liked it and pasted it on the wall of the sitting room. The drawing remained pasted there for quite some time. My father used to show it to every visitor, saying, “my son has drawn it.” This is how I was encouraged. This is why I am an artist.

You would have seen many parents ignoring to encourage their children. Nobody can be perfect instantly, it requires a long period of time to achieve excellence. But by ignoring a drawing by a child by the parents or teachers, they simply kill the natural talent of the child.

Not only just that, I have seen parents who openly express completely negative remarks, that discourage their child. Most of these parents or teachers usually act so without realising the extent to which it hurts the child and kills the artist inside him/her. But being a mature person, they must know this.

This is not all. The family background to which I belonged did not have a supporting or encouraging environment for an artist.  Except for my father, I did not see other parents in my relatives or locality who encouraged their children to draw or paint. Their views were that according to them it is very difficult for an artist to earn, whereas it’s easier to earn more by becoming a doctor or engineer or accountant. This is why I became an accountant and not a full professional artist.

But there still are people who kill their talent themselves. They simply do not trust themselves. They get easily discouraged if they see their friends drawing better than them. They accept their defeat instantly, without realising that they do have talent like others, but this talent differs from person to person.

All that we need is to constantly draw and paint. The style and technique of every person differs. It is natural. Whether the drawings of Leonardo can be put in the same category with that of Picasso? No. Whether an abstract painting can be compared with a realistic painting? Again No. This is because every person expresses himself in a different way by exploring the natural talent .

Unfortunately, as I look around, I see children drawing and painting when they are in the pre-school nurseries, but as they grow up they stop drawing and painting. In the end they reach to a stage when the same child who used to like coloring the blank spaces on papers at the age of 4 or 5 or 6, says that he does not know how to draw or paint. The only reason is that a grown up person compares his/her drawing/painting with that of established artists, without realising the fact that the elite artists do spend all of their time repeatedly working on drawings and paintings.

I would like to say that not everyone can become a recognised and renowned artist, but each of us is an artist, and we must not kill this talent.