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  • wolfwhitney31

Transitioning: A journey from soldier to artist

How does a girl from a small island end up serving in the United States Army and then move on to serving the community through art? Read on and I shall tell you the tale.

My childhood was a little different than most girls. I was never into dolls, but I did have an amazing collection of toy soldiers, which was very distressing to my mother, as one could imagine. Between waging war with my toys, I always found time to draw, paint, sculpt and write poetry. Those were my pastimes in my formative years. As I got into my teenage rebellion phase I would skip math class to hang out in the art room. Who needs math anyway? My art teacher at the time was a small-statured lady with big, wild ideas. I felt at home. She always encouraged us to let our art take control. We became passengers in the process, amazed at where we were traveling to. There were other amazing artists that shaped me into the wild woman I am today.

In my early twenties, I met the love of my life and decided to move to America. Once here I made another huge life-changing decision. To follow my dream of becoming a soldier. My time in the Army was amazing. I was a cannon crewmember, just a fancy way of saying I shot big canons. Alas, my body was not built for the extreme hardships that job entailed, but I will be damned to say I did not give it my all. I love every moment of it.

After serving for a few years, I was medically discharged and now am a disabled veteran. This is where art came back into the picture. After leaving I moved my family to the magical place that is Vermont. I moped around for a while trying to figure out what I should now do with my life. Depression became a companion until one day I saw an ad for the Vermont Woodworking school. I figured it couldn't hurt to learn to make chairs. I enrolled. I fell madly in love with wood.

Then the pandemic happened.

Lockdown was when I decided I wanted to continue working with my hands, so I ordered a couple of chisels and off I went to create my first real carving. I had whittled in wood before but nothing bigger than 3-inch figures. This was an actual carving! I surprised myself. From there I started a business. Isn't that what rational people do when confronted with vast amounts of time to do nothing? In the end, I knew I would not be just creating with wood. I loved the act of destroying something to make it beautiful. So, when I come across an art form that calls for destruction, I set out to learn it. So far, I have worked in stone, mosaic, collage, you name it I have attempted it. Thus, how the wandering wolf was formed. It makes for a very messy studio.

I do not think I will ever settle on one medium. I love them all.

Look out for more blog posts here in the future. I will be writing a how-to on varying techniques and mediums. Also, videos on my artistic process. I invite you all to come wander with me.

Super hero

Young private Whitney

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