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Veteran began creating art ‘from the heart’ during pandemic

By John Le

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    ARDEN, North Carolina (WLOS) — The pandemic has been a source of anxiety for many people, but it’s also prompted many folks to seek out something colorful, peaceful and therapeutic.

“Let’s do some wonderful things here,” said Jeff Powell, who recently took up art for the first time since he was in elementary school.

“Purple is a wonderful color,” he says in his Arden apartment, ready to paint the town purple. “Here we go.”

Powell speaks as if he’s fallen in love.

“I have a wonderful feeling when I start painting. I try to run to painting every day,” he told News 13.

“My art, as I say, comes from the heart. So my pictures kind of reflects what’s in my heart,” Powell explained,

At least something good came out of 2020.

“I had it on the back burner for a while,” he said of his newfound passion. “And I said, ‘Okay, the COVID’s here, I’m running out of things to do. Let me get another hobby.”

Jeff, a Navy Veteran, quickly understood the power of abstract artistic freedom.

“Oh wow, it relieves the stress, it’s very therapeutic. It takes your mind from wherever to wherever you desire to be,” he said.

Powell recently launched a Facebook page called FlagPoetry. There, he shares the newfound passion he hadn’t explored since elementary school.

“FlagPoetry, my goal for that is to reach out to fellow veterans, their family or community, to pick up a hobby,” he explained. “If it’s art, if it’s reading, or doing anything that’s positive that’s gonna help them combat whatever problems that they’re going through, whether it’s mental or physical.”

Perhaps the best part of his hobby is time with his son Jeremiah, who also began painting.

“That lights me up, that’s really inspiring,” Jeff says.

He urges fellow vets to find a similar creative outlet. Because you never know how bottled up emotions simmering beneath the surface might inspire a thing of beauty.

“It’s deep inside and I put it out there,” said Powell.

“It motivates me to strive more, to do more, each and every day,” he says. “And sometimes if I think back a little bit, I push myself to do more things creative.”

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