News: Couples build community, complementing canvases
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - It was the evening before Valentine’s Day, and one room in the Mololani Community Center was full of activity. On one side of the room, Mak Lim painted upon her canvas two little black birds perched on a black branch. On one bird she painted the letter “R,” on the other, the letter “M,” and a small yellow heart in between. On the other end of the room, Sgt. Chanratha Lim adorned his black branches with splashes of red blood.
“Everyone’s personality comes out in the painting,” said painting instructor and military spouse Tammy Bruce, who supervised the Lims and more than a dozen Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 couples at the squadron’s second Wine and Canvas event, Feb. 13, 2014. “(A) little piece of her personality (and) a little piece of his personality come together to make a beautiful, one-of-a-kind picture.”
Back by popular demand, the event features a painting lesson for couples.
“We wanted to do something for the couples near Valentine’s Day,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Rahareden Miranda, the deputy family readiness officer for MALS-24. “It’s a couple’s (activity) they can do together. Not everyone gets to paint (during) a date so it’s something different and unique.”
The squadron offered this event last year, and Miranda said volunteers expressed interest in bringing it back.
“I’m pretty excited about this event,” said Miranda, who also painted with his wife. “Once I put out the RSVP we booked within hours, so (we’re) thinking of doing another one in a couple months depending on how this one turns out.”
The male spouses painted a different picture from the female spouses on separate sides of the room, ultimately producing two works of art that complement each other. That evening, the couples painted tree branches over a rainbow-colored background. During these events, she has observed couples encouraging, correcting and even competing with each other.
“(Through couple’s painting, they’re) building something together,”
As the MALS-24 couples finished the first half of their lesson and took a break, husbands and wives crossed the room to see their significant other’s handiwork. Some spouses went one step further by putting their canvases side-by-side, attempting to make their paintings match and look complementary.
“It’s been pretty simple so far,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Barry, who watched his wife, Ericka, touch up her painting during the break. “It’s about to get challenging here in a minute.”
This was a first painting experience for Barry, a logistics specialist with MALS-24 and native of Kansas City, Mo.
“(Wine and Canvas) brings the families and your co-workers together (for an activity) you wouldn’t normally do,” Barry said.
Before the evening ended, all the couples posed for a group photo, displaying their paintings in pairs.
“It was a lovely experience to start off our first Valentine’s Day married,” said Brandi Young of Fairdale, Ky. “(We) get to do something to express both our personalities. I think (the paintings will) look very good in our house.”
Young said she did not really have difficulty during the painting lesson.
“They go step by step with you,” she said. “You’re not really left in the dark anywhere. You should definitely do it even if you’re not creative.”
Sgt. Jonathan Lockwood, the assistant administrative chief at MALS-24, participated in his second Wine and Canvas with his wife.
Though the native of Elko, S.C., said it was difficult keeping clean, he enjoyed his painting lesson overall.
“I give it my two thumbs up,” Lockwood said. “Everyone should do it, at least once.”
Miranda said the squadron may host another Wine and Canvas event in the future.
“It’ll be something you’ll be proud of,” Bruce said. “It’s the most stress-free fun you’ll ever have.”