Arlington Artist Paints From Past, Inspires Future

Derrick Williams' "Let's Paint with Kinfolks" is changing lives through art.

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Derrick Williams sits in his Arlington art studio surrounded by bright, bold and beautiful paintings.

“I want it to be positive. We have so much negative that’s going on,” Williams said. “I use my art to express the positive side of life. The vibrant colors.”

This day, he sits in front of a nearly empty canvas, adding layers of paint that echo the layers of his life.

“Most of the drawings that I do are a reflection of my past,” said.

He adds a deep burgundy paint to the large hat of a woman sitting on a porch. He pauses and thinks.

“That would be my grandmother,” Williams said. “This here is a reflection of how she was. She was a strong, strong woman."

As he adds details to the painting, you can almost hear her voice.

“She would say ‘boy what are you doing?’ ‘What you over there drawing?’ ‘Is that supposed to be me?’ ‘Make sure she is pretty,’” he smiled.

Williams can only imagine what she would say if she could see him now.

“She would be happy to know that I’m doing something that I love,” he said.

He’s in his own studio in his own business and she would love that.

“The name of the business is called ‘Let’s Paint with Kinfolk,’” Williams explained.

The journey to this accomplishment is a masterpiece all its own.

Williams was laid off in 2016 from a job he had for decades, but he took that unintentional blank canvas of life and created a new narrative.

“I took the money that I earned from there… my pension and I opened a studio up,” he said.

Now, he sells his work and hosts paint parties for the community.

“It takes me out of where I am in life,” Vandra Noel of Fort Worth said as she painted. “It takes me to a place where I want to be and that’s a place where it’s carefree with no worries.”

For many who visit the studio, it gives them a splash of color when life can leave you feeling gray.

“My job ended on Saturday and I was kind of feeling down a little bit,” Adria Powell-Solomon of Saginaw said in between brush strokes. “Then when I knew I was coming here. I automatically felt the uplift.

Comments like that are exact why Williams continues his colorful business.

“When you see these colors it brightens your life,” Williams said.

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