This is part 1 of a special Veterans Day post featuring a painting which I commissioned from USMC Vietnam veteran, Larry “Aurence” Hancock some years ago after seeing an article about him and his paintings in my local electric cooperative monthly publication. Even though the photos were postage stamp size, I could tell he was the real thing–an authentic folk artist.
Not trained as an artist, Aurence joined the Marines after high school with his best friend, and both were sent to Vietnam at the height of the war. While Aurence was assigned the dangerous job of door gunner on a Huey helicopter and survived to return home to civilian life, his childhood friend did not. Aurence came home, went to school, got a job, got married and had a family. But years later, still troubled by sad and disturbing memories in quiet moments, he went to the local hardware store and bought some paints, brushes and canvas panels to occupy his mind. He didn’t consider himself an artist, and never intended to show his work to anyone, certainly not hang them on the wall in his own home. He painted mainly scenes familiar to him: people raking leaves in the fall, sailboats at the beach, Santa and the reindeer flying through the air.