ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Do you remember the feeling of waking up Christmas morning, tearing into your presents and finding the one doll, action figure or another toy you’d been asking Santa for? That’s the joy one Abilene artist is looking to create through KTAB’s Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive, while also hoping to create a passion for art along the way.

Doris Kinney, a lifelong Abilenian, told KTAB/KRBC that from the time she could hold a pencil or paint brush, she knew art would be a big part of her life.

While Kinney’s journey started out like every other youngster with stick figures and a yellow sun in the corner, it quickly became evident to her second grade teacher at Taylor Elementary that she was gifted.

However, growing up, piano lessons were at the forefront, mostly because Kinney said her family was unaware art classes were available at the time.

“I never did have all the supplies, but my parents did splurge and get me the box of 64 Crayolas every year,” Kinney laughed.

As the artist grew up, she began teaching herself some of the finer details in art, such as perspective and shading – the elements that make good art great, and great art incredible. To this day, Kinney credits God for her ability to paint and sketch.

Kinney said life caught up with her after a while, what with getting married and raising three children as a full time stay-at-home mom. She said she made the tough decision to put down the brush, and said it wasn’t a productive skill, such as sewing her children’s clothing.

Come to find out, Kinney said she never showed her daughters how talented of an artist she really was, and each of her three daughter’s paintings line the walls of her home to this day. All three became artists themselves.

It wasn’t until Kinney was diagnosed with breast cancer, and later beat it, that she realized the time was right again for her to put the brush back on canvas.

Walking down the halls of Legacy Art Gallery in North Abilene, Kinney said she once again rediscovered her passion for art while watching the evening news. She heard KTAB’s Joni McKinnon read a letter to Santa from a young girl.

The letter read:

Dear Santa, my name is Josie. I am 11 years old and would like to have an art kit with painting, coloring and sketch pad, a cross necklace and a microphone. Thank you.

The letter was submitted to KTAB as a part of its Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive, helping kids across the Big Country.

Josie’s wish list hit home with Kinney. She said she hadn’t received the needed art supplies like that until she was in the ninth grade.

“I waited a long time – much older than her – to get those,” Kinney recalled. “I thought this would be an opportunity to get her started sooner.”

Except, Kinney said she also wanted to add a special gift of her own, should they be able to connect one day.

“I’d even be willing to work with her and teach her a few things I know,” Kinney offered.

Kinney said she hopes to bring to Josie this Christmas, the same smile she has every time she walks the hallways of the art studio.