JGF Art Student Wins Local Competition, Heads to Nationals

About the Artist
Two years ago, when Nick Bejarano first walked through the doors of the Janet Goeske Center and into a Monday morning art class his artistic experience would rival that of any 3rd grader. “I think I once drew a picture of a sailboat (with charcoal) when I was a child”, he reminisces. Today this novice holds a winning title for his pastel painting “Comrade in Arms” which he reluctantly entered in the “2013 Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival” at the Loma Linda VA, after much urging from a friend. Not only did he win the local title in his category but his piece has been accepted into the “2013 National Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival” to be held in Reno, Nevada this October.

Nick and his wife Mary-Lou moved to Riverside County after retiring a few years ago. Nick served for 10 years in the United States Army and feels strongly that “our service is never done.” Since arriving they have been very active in their communities: organizing a veteran’s association at their retirement community, creating a woman’s auxiliary unit, and working to create a local Art Council. Lois Blackmore, art teacher at the Janet Goeske Center for 10+ years, admires the couple, “Not only are they beautiful artists. . . they are beautiful people.”

To learn more about the National Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival, please visit www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov

In the Artist’s Own Words

My painting “Comrade in Arms” was taken from a photograph given to me by a friend, a United States Marine veteran. As an artist, I have always been compelled to paint subjects of human interest. As a veteran myself [United States Army] I love to paint about soldiers both in war and peace.

In this particular painting, it shows the close friendship, companionship, love and caring that the soldiers have for each other after a day of combat in the front line. Notice the fierce color of sunset in the background? In spite of their being tired and weary, they try to hold on to each other for comfort and support.

As a proud veteran and a member of a veteran’s association, I still see that kind of relationship among veterans helping other veterans – so that no one feels alone and isolated. Camaraderie is the one thing that keeps soldiers in combat and veterans at home going. They have one experience in life that they alone can relate to and talk about.

In this particular painting I used pastels, which I find a very forgiving medium, and which I am comfortable using. In spite of the strong image being portrayed by the subject matter, it has that soft effect to the viewer’s eyes.