Painting Faces of the Navy

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Everett Allen, USS George Washington Public Affairs

WATERS NEAR GUAM – For more than twenty years, Sailors have painted bulkheads, angle irons and decks on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). But for one talented group of artists, painting is a pastime, a bonding experience and their way of telling the Navy’s story.

In October 2014, Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Kristena Huck, from Deming, Wash., and Machinist’s Mate Fireman Elizabeth Bowmer, from Astoria, Ore., completed painting 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.”

“Four of the five faces are actually based on people around the ship,” said Huck. “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.

Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Kristena Huck, from Deming, Wash., left, and Machinist’s Mate Fireman Elizabeth Bowmer, from Astoria, Ore., pose beside a mural they painted on the aft mess decks of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Everett Allen

Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Kristena Huck, from Deming, Wash., left, and Machinist’s Mate Fireman Elizabeth Bowmer, from Astoria, Ore., pose beside a mural they painted on the aft mess decks of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Everett Allen

“There was a small group of us that were actively working on the murals at the beginning,” said Huck. “By the end, it was just Bowmer and myself pushing each other to get the project done. We both have similar artistic styles, so the murals really blended together easily.”

Sometimes finding the time to work together on the mural became the 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,” said Bowmer. “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 murals means the beginning of new painting endeavors

“Even outside of this mural, Huck and I work on paintings pretty regularly,” said Bowmer. “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,” said Bowmer. “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.”

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