WATERS NEAR GUAM – For more than 20 years, sailors have painted bulkheads, angle irons and decks on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington. But for a talented group of artists aboard the vessel, painting is a pastime, a bonding experience and a unique way of telling the Navy’s story.
In October 2014, Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Kristena Huck, from Deming, Washington, and Machinist’s Mate Fireman Elizabeth Bowmer, from Astoria, Oregon, completed the painting of two large-scale murals on the ship’s aft mess decks.
One mural depicts USS George Washington “crossing the line,” and the other displays the diversity of sailors through the depiction of various “faces of the Navy.”
Artwork Features Members of Crew
“Four of the five faces are actually based on people around the ship,” Huck said. “It was fun to do because a variety of sailors volunteered to have a character in the painting modeled after their face, which allowed the mural to reflect some of the Navy’s ethnic diversity.”
Each mural spans more than 136 square feet. Although several sailors helped throughout the process of creating the murals, only two remained to see the project through to completion.
“There was a small group of us that were actively working on the murals at the beginning,” Huck said. “By the end, it was just Bowmer and I pushing each other to get the project done. We both have similar artistic styles, so the murals really blended together easily.”
Determined to Complete Work
Sometimes finding the time to work together on the mural became a challenge, but Bowmer and Huck were determined to finish.
“Since we have two different rates, we didn’t get to work on the project together very often,” Bowmer said. “But we did try to schedule it so that we worked at the same time, so that we could bounce ideas off of each other.”
According to Bowmer, they share a commonality in their artistic passion and skill, and their completion of the murals means the beginning of new painting endeavors.
“Even outside of this mural, Huck and I work on paintings pretty regularly,” Bowmer said. “We live in the same berthing, so we get to sit down in the lounge and work on artwork together.”
According to Bowmer, her desire to keep painting and designing will never wane.
“I plan to continue with this hobby,” she said. “Whether we’re underway or in port, I try to practice as much as I can to sharpen my skills. I plan on becoming a concept artist and art designer for video games after my enlistment in the Navy.”