More than an art classes, artists Ramon Ramirez and Steve Ponting are inspiring veterans to explore their creativity though color, shapes and fellowship.
Sponsored by Vets 4 Veterans, a local organization that supports veterans, students are taught to simply let go of all thoughts and look at the project before them.
Using different mediums such as pastel crayons, acrylic paint, clay and others, veterans who have never been interested in art find themselves enjoying something new.
“We are so trained to conform,” says instructor Ramirez. “Art helps us to express what is deep inside or it can be used to push things out of the forefront — at least for some time.”
Walking into his grandfather’s studio at the age of four on Christmas morning, Ramirez said he knew right then he had to be an artist.
Colors can induce different moods. From a tranquil blue to a vibrant orange, hues can energize the mind or help release energy. Supported by a grant, the free class with DD214 is a way to introduce art to veterans.
“You may not know you are interested, but if the supplies are laid out and you are shown how to use them — you never know, we could discover the next Michael Angelo here,” said Steve Ponting who specializes in acrylics.
Vietnam veteran Brian Rader who served in heavy artillery said using pastels to draw “Sailboat in Cambodia” in his fourth class, so far, is still his favorite.
“Each week is different. I don’t hang out in public often but this is a comfortable group.” Rader said he used to doodle to help change his focus after missions. “It is a good way to wind down and relax.”
For more information on remaining classes: www.vets4veterans.org.