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Service & Sacrifice: War and peace painter

The COVID-19 pandemic prompts a veteran painter to seek peace through his art.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — World War II veteran Alex Dumas is using his days of “self-isolation” to revisit peaceful scenes from his past.

“I hope it brings back the same kind of memories that ran through my mind when I was painting,” said Dumas surrounded by a half-dozen new paintings of river and mountain scenes from the Smokies inspired by snapshots he took during hikes with his wife 20 years ago.

Credit: John Becker

“I always say to myself, I wish you could see these, honey,” said Mr. Dumas who lost his wife of thirty years more than a decade ago.  

When the pandemic hit, the veteran painter started looking for new inspiration.  He dug out his old photos and go to work with his brush.

"I do pencil sketch and start painting," explained Dumas who says each of his new artwork pieces took about a week to complete working in five to six hour daily sessions.

In 2009, we first spoke to him about his “war series” inspired a wounded veteran with whom he crossed paths and by his own service stateside as a Navy Corpsman in World War II.

Dumas went on to paint dozens of scenes capturing the most intense and intimate moments of combat.

“(Military service) left an indelible impression on me,” said Dumas who is now 92 years old.

Credit: John Becker

He hopes his latest paintings will inspire peace for people and bring back their own fond memories of hiking in the mountains of East Tennessee.

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