Veteran Portraits Capture the Spirit of the Greatest Generation

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World War II veterans who live at the West Los Angeles Veterans Home have been memorialized in pen, pencil and paint.

There are a lot of ways to honor veterans. But, for two Southern California artists, the best way they knew how was through painting — capturing the history, the images and the stories of World War II veterans.

What began with Artist Stacy Kamin doing a single portrait of WWII veteran John Knight turned into something much more. Soon, Stacy’s mother, Jacqueline Kamin, got involved. Every week, the two artists would spend time at the Veterans Home, sketching and painting portraits of the veterans. And in time Drawn to Serve was born.

“It was something that we loved doing,” said Stacy Kamin. “We did it every week for a year.”

“Their lives and their stories truly depict why they are known as our Greatest Generation,” said Jacqueline Kamin. “We’ve enjoyed knowing the men and women, and painting and drawing them. We heard their stories. We discovered how they were drawn to serve. We shared our lives on these magical and inspiring days.”

In November 2017, the two artists honored these veterans with a special showing of the portraits at a pop-up gallery in the lobby of the Veterans Home.

The sketching and painting continues. The Kamins have completed more than 130 portraits in all, including those of post-9/11 era veterans.

Capturing our nation’s heroes through portraiture is their mission. The mother-daughter team plan to put on a traveling portrait exhibit with accompanying testimonials that will allow viewers to see the portraits come to life with personal stories.

Filmmaker Daniel Gamburg took interest in the project and created a brief documentary about it.

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