Finding Peace In Creating Art
ELLIS COUNTY – Even though COVID-19 is making this holiday season a little different than we might have expected last year at this time – there are many things for which to be grateful.
Irma Scholes, a veteran who recently returned to Ellis County, added an unexpected item to her gratitude list this year, a few days before it was even officially Thanksgiving.
Scholes took a trip with a colleague to northern Arkansas to visit an artist friend at his remote home and art studio.
Scott Hickcock, fellow veteran and 18-year Army infantry soldier told his story to Scholes when the two met. His art is an outpouring of the outlet he now uses to manage his PTSD.
“I create my own colors and incorporate that into the glass and paint the glass and see what ends up,” Hickcock said. “I am big on the small details that are hard to see in the video and photos. Every little piece has been touched several times.”
Both veterans recognize the importance of mental health and even more so during COVID-19 and the holiday season.
While Hickcock has found solace in his art, Scholes shared her stories about the benefits of exercise, yoga, meditation and more natural paths as opposed to taking the many medications that are often thrust upon veterans.
But she knew when she saw Hickcock’s glass table created over several weeks and just one of hundreds of pieces he has made in the last five years, that art might be an excellent outlet for her too.
“I was happy to be in a place where I did not have to worry about too many people and social distancing,” Scholes said. “At the end of the day this is a lesson I will apply and also share with my kids.”
Hickcock said much like Scholes’ natural path she has been taking after the military, his art is just one of those things he picked up and could almost immediately do.
“I never considered myself an artist,” he said. “I was doing this to pass my time and deal with my PTSD – really that is what it is just dealing with my PTSD.”
His art has a calming effect on his soul and while Scholes visited his seven-acre compound she found solace too.
“My art has a large calming effect and whatever thoughts I have at the moment that I am painting, it almost seems to materialize out of my life after that if I concentrate on one painting and I think about how to deal with it,” Hickcock said. “I just kind of empty myself in the alpha state – I have no idea what I am painting as I paint and then I feel better – I feel like something was accomplished.”
Thankful For Inspiration
As most veterans will tell you, there is an instant camaraderie between them due to their time in service.
This was the case with Scholes and Hickcock too. Scholes said she walked away with the determination to use art as an additional outlet.
A self-proclaimed Type A personality, Scholes added that “Art can be anything and has no rules to follow, I need that. In the past I have really limited myself. I had been thinking about taking up painting, and now I realize now that I can start with anything and do anything. No rules.”
Hickcock, originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma who after the military moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma before finding his paradise with his wife Michelle in Arkansas. He has been creating art now for five years with tables, wall hangings and even light fixtures on everything from glass, to canvas to whatever comes next.
He said “I do this because I love it. I never planned on making any money, people connect with my art because it is happy. I use vibrant colors. I have some dark pieces – most of the time I like to paint happy, I like to paint electric colors. I want people to be able to look at something and be able to forget their day or lose themselves in the little things that I hide in the painting.
His art is strong enough that it spoke to Scholes who is returning to Dallas to create her own art and to pass the tradition to her children too.
“After hearing Scott talk about all the things he saw and made through his art, I now see art in so many random things. While hiking, I saw a tree that fell with the roots attached; there was growth still coming from it. It’s kind of cool to see the beauty in something I may have never looked twice at before. My daughter is very creative, and I think this will be something else we can share and do together,” Scholes concluded.