These beautiful paintings are the work of 16-year-old Dimitra Milan, who started painting just four years ago. Daughter to two artists, Milan was exposed to art from a young age, and even chose to be homeschooled so that she could dedicate more time to polish her painting techniques. Now an early high-school graduate and professional painter, Milan shared some of her thoughts about her parents:

“My parents have given me a lot of advice about painting and the creative process,” Milan told Bored Panda. “They have taught me work ethic, and about my identity as an artist. They taught me to be defined from the inside, not the outside. That I find my identity in God, and not what the world or people think about me. I know that beauty starts from within before it manifests where it can be seen.

Concerning the creative process, they have taught me that hitting a wall is a natural part of growth as an artist. When you get stuck or frustrated, you take risks and push through until you break through the wall, and find a discovery. This has helped me get out of my comfort zone and increase my skills rapidly.”

Read the rest of our interview with the gifted child below her colorful paintings!

More info: dimitramilan.com | Facebook | Instagram (h/t: mymodernmet)

Interview with Dimitra Milan:

“I am the oldest of my three other siblings. I have two sisters and a brother. My parents who were high school sweethearts are also established, professional artists. My heritage is part Greek. I lived in Greece for a year, and I went to kindergarten there. I have a deep connection and love for that country. I have lived in Arizona my whole life, and have always loved animals. My parents say that I have asked them for a farm since I could talk. Now I have a horse, a dairy goat, a cockatiel, dogs, cats, and chickens. How I got started with my surreal paintings, is my parents opened an art school, and I began taking all of the classes. I was 12 when I became interested in painting. After I got over a few hurdles, I picked it up quickly.”

“My parents have given me a lot of advice about creating beautiful art and the creative process. They have taught me a work ethic, and about my identity as an artist. They taught me to be defined from the inside, not the outside. That I find my identity in God, and not what the world or people think about me. I know that beauty starts from within before it manifests where it can be seen. Concerning the creative process, they have taught me that hitting a wall is a natural part of growth as an artist. When you get stuck or frustrated, you take risks and push through until you break through the wall, and find a discovery. This has helped me get out of my comfort zone and increase my skills rapidly.”

“I paint what I see as beautiful, noble, true, and worthy. I paint women because they are beautiful, and they represent how I feel. I paint animals as symbols and believe they represent a deeper meaning. I’m not always aware of their meaning. I paint what I am attracted to at the moment from an inner need to see what my image looks on the canvas. The painting tells me what it means like there is a divine voice inside of it that tells me its mysteries. Sometimes what I paint is from what I have dreamt at night. Lately, I have dreamt of being underwater and seeing glistening light sparkling above me. Below me were hundreds of stingrays with red and black backs. Like Vincent Van Gogh, “I paint my dreams, and I dream my surreal paintings.”

“My process is a classical foundation with contemporary techniques. I aim to make my paintings look free and effortless; loose, not tight and over-labored. I want the forms to be rendered and anatomically correct but fading into abstract brushstrokes. I have learned about the frequency of color and how some pigments move away and some come forward. I try to create depth, beauty, and emotion through different frequencies of pigments. I love colors that are soft and atmospheric. I paint from my sketches and several photographs. I love to draw with inks and discover new ways to make marks.”

“I hope that viewers feel invited to live inside the paintings and encounter a presence of beauty. I want them to feel that anything is possible, empowered, and free. I want them to get a sense of divine love and find a dreamy realm where they are inspired and uplifted.”

Bored Panda would like to thank Dimitra Milan for taking the time to answer our questions!