Back from Iraq (Portrait of Corporal J R Martinez)
Oil on Canvas
50" x 60"

"I was nineteen years old when I was waken by a complete stranger saying my last name and wearing green scrubs. He was the doctor that treated me at Brooke Army Medical Center. At that same age I was introduced to another stranger that didnít sit very well with me. I didnít like this new stranger because of his bold and unfamiliar features. I slowly began to fight with this stranger and to understand exactly who he was and what purpose he had in this life of mine.

A long five days went by when the mother of this stranger approached me and said , "I should look past the exterior features, accept this new individual that was in my life.Ē I immediately began to understand, believe, and more importantly like this new person. I slowly came to accept that there was "true beauty" beyond the exterior that I was introduced to at first. This once stranger is now the new J.R. Martinez, and someone I have accepted in many ways than just physically.

This portrait is a great example of how attitude, a smile, faith, and acceptance is the key to overcoming any obstacle in life. Scars are beautiful! All of us have them but the difference is they are hidden inside a mind, chest, and body. But I believe that these are the things that make you not only a powerful person but a worthy individual!"

-JR Martinez, 2008