GETTING TO THE ART OF THE MATTER
In 2003, Army Sergeant Peter Damon lost his left wrist and his right arm above the elbow in an accident while performing maintenance on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq. In the months following his recovery, Damon, originally right-handed, eventually taught himself to paint using his left prosthesis with some incredible results. He was our first new home recipient in October 2005. We talked to him about his journey as an injured veteran and the role his artwork has played in his healing.
When did you first become involved in painting? I’ve always had an interest in art. I would draw a lot as a child. I guess I was pretty good at drawing, but my artwork lacked depth. I learned the basics from art-instruction books and from studying the paintings of other artists that I admire. As I got older, my interest in drawing waned and I became more interested in music (playing guitar and writing songs, etc) as a creative outlet. I became interested again in drawing and teaching myself to draw better when I deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003. I needed an activity to keep my mind occupied during down time, something to ward off home-sickness. I had my wife mail me art supplies from back home and I even had built myself a little drafting table to draw on and brought it back to my hooch. I was getting a lot better at it and I even started entertaining the idea of becoming a tattoo (“flash”) artist when I got home.
How did you develop your talent after your injury? While recovering at Walter Reed, the thought occurred to me that I might still be able to draw and though my first attempts were shaky, there was definitely potential. I would visit art museums in the DC area. I also started to become more interested in fine art rather than the graphic style tattoo flash I was doing. I immersed myself in it and started to become more interested in painting. When I finally returned home from Walter Reed I taught myself to paint with watercolor, pastel, and eventually, oils. I’ve also taken workshops from local artists that I like.
How has your art helped you in the healing process? After losing my arms in Iraq, I obviously had a lot of things to be concerned about, work, making a living, and getting around in general. However, I was also very down about losing my re-found passion for drawing. Art became a major source of therapy for me. It had a great effect on my self-esteem to have a skill that not all able-bodied people have.
What motivates you to begin a painting? To finish a painting?I am motivated by a desire to be a good artist, not just the guy who paints with no arms. I try to paint on a regular basis-it doesn’t have anything to do with whatever mood I’m in.
Are you often a perfectionist with your painting? I don’t think I’m a perfectionist. Art is subjective. My idea of perfection may not be someone else’s version of perfection. My tastes in art may differ from others. So what’s the point in being perfect? What’s important to me is to make some sort of emotional connection with a viewer. Not all viewers, just a viewer. We all have our own ideas of what makes good art and they differ vastly. For example, some people admire a very detailed photo-realistic style of painting. I don’t particularly care for that style. I prefer to see a more loose, expressive, spontaneous style. Some people admire Picasso. They say he’s a genius. I myself don’t particularly care for Picasso’s cubist style.
How often do you scratch a project? There are times, usually in the beginning stages, when a painting doesn’t seem to have the right “flow” or “harmony” that I like to see. And during those times I may scrap the idea and start anew. But my main goal is not purely a realistic representation of subject matter. Sometimes, often most of the time, the main goal in my painting is to create a mood or feeling through a representation of many things- light, shadow, color, the relationship of shapes, etc. To me, a painting should be expressive. It should not look like a photograph. We have cameras for that.
Learn more about Sergeant Peter Damon, click here.
We are excited to announce our Groundbreaking Ceremony
for Cpl David Noblit on Saturday July 20, 2013 at 10:00 am!
What is it: An introductory event to help kick off and celebrate the start of Cpl David Noblit home in Elysburg,PA ! Join us as Homes for Our Troops pairs with the Elysburg community to break ground for this home.This is a chance to learn how you, your family, you company and friends can support this
project throughout construction!
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Address: 27 Heartland Blvd
Elysburg, PA 17824
What you can do to help:
-Volunteer for this event
-Sing the National Anthem
-Provide the Color Guard
-Hero's Lunch Sponsor
Help support our Fundraisers being held directly afterwards
-Provide a food or beverage donation for our Fundraiser BBQ
-Bake and donate baked goods for our Bake sale
-Donate items for our raffle
-Host a Fundraiser
- See more at: https://www.hfotusa.org/noblit#sthash.LlXrL1TU.dpuf