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Express yourself

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Magen M. Reeves
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Maya Angelou said every person is born with a talent.

This is especially true for Airman 1st Class Yoli Alvarez Hernandez, 341st Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician, who has several artistic talents.

Some artists only use one form of medium to produce works of art, however, Alvarez Hernandez, originally from West Covina, California, is talented with both oil and acrylic paints.

“I mainly use acrylic paints,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “I can paint (realistic-looking) people, landscapes and cosmic scenery.”

Acrylic paints are cheaper in price and are a quick-drying formula. When painting with acrylics an artist must move quickly to blend colors together or paint large areas one color. Acrylics are most commonly used in crafting, in art classes or by children.

Oil paints, on the other hand, are much more expensive; almost triple the cost of acrylic paints. Because the paint is oil based it takes much longer to dry, allowing the artist to blend the colors together for a seamless gradient. Portraits are made traditionally with oil paints.

Her favorite creation is an oil painting.

“My favorite painting is an oil painting of a street in Italy,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “(When I created it) it was my first time painting with oil paint, and as much as I hated working with its slow drying process the colors are lively and the texture is rich.”

Alvarez Hernandez’s room displays several of her works of art she has completed over the years.

“I hang my paintings in my dorm room so it almost becomes a mini art gallery,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “It makes it feel like home.”

The works of art on her wall include multiple graphite pencil drawings of iconic, powerful women and an acrylic painting of her musical idol, Ringo Starr.

“When I saw Hernandez's art the first thing I said was that she should sell it because of how good the quality was,” said Airman 1st Class Vincent Montello, 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations control center support operator.

For some of us, having at least one artistic talent would be enough. However, Alvarez Hernandez also beats out music on the drums.

She said she pulls inspiration from her favorite band since childhood, the Beatles.

“I grew up listening to the Beatles when I was a kid,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “Their music just transcends time, almost each song can tug on your heart strings. Ringo Starr, the Beatles’ drummer, was always my favorite. He is who initially inspired me.”

Alvarez Hernandez has been honing her talents for several years both on the easel and with the drums completely on her own.

She said she has taken a class or two over the years but prefers to learn on her own. This may seem like a small accomplishment but when all of the parts of a drum set, including the bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, foot pedal and drumsticks, come into play it can be intimidating to figure out how everything works.

“I got my first drum kit at my Quincenera,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “Ever since (getting the drum set) it has been my passion to play.”

Since joining the Air Force, Alvarez Hernandez said it can be difficult to find a place to practice. She has only been at Malmstrom since October 2016 and her personal drum set is at home with her family.

Alvarez Hernandez said because of the limitations a drum set can present, both in availability and space, she’s had to rely on other forms of creative expression.

“The best way I’ve found to express myself instead of drumming is to paint because it's doable in a dorm room,” said Alvarez Hernandez.

“I've seen a painting of hers evolve and eventually make it on her (dorm room) wall of fame,” said Montello. “(Her works of art) belong on that wall.”

While Alvarez Hernandez said she enjoys painting, she also said busting out a beat on the drums from a Beatles song is a little more fun.

Thanks to advice from her fellow junior enlisted Airmen, Alvarez Hernandez recently found out the base’s chapel has a drum set available for her to practice.

“I’m so excited,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “I’ll have to flex my schedule to be able to practice during the chapel’s open hours, but I’m sure I can work something out. I will do whatever it takes.”

Alvarez Hernandez said she has dabbled in almost every form of expressive art including painting and drumming to sculpting and cooking.

She also said feels it is important for Airmen to have positive hobbies.

“This is the first time some of us are away from home; in a new environment, with a stricter style of living and leaning a new job,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “Giving Airmen resources to develop their passion builds camaraderie, diversity and allows us to maintain our sense of self.”

All in all, Alvarez Hernandez loves expressing her artistic skills.

“I love to express myself and create things,” said Alvarez Hernandez. “It not only helps me build resiliency, but also shares something with the world that is a tangible form of emotional expression.”