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World War II Portraits Get A Color Makeover At Boerne Library Exhibit

Your local library may have revolving displays of period museum collections or perhaps paintings hanging on the walls of their public gallery, but they probably don’t have this.

Chris Demarest is the painter who created about 30 paintings of World War II servicemen and women that are on display at the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne. You may still be asking: what’s so different about that?

"I bring my easel wherever I go, so I work in public" Demarest explained.

Demarest is set up amongst his collection, painting new ones all the time. Demarest said he enjoys hearing from people about their experience in the war.

"It gives me the opportunity to talk to people, and to get their stories," he said.

As Demarest explains, there is still one more point of differentiation in this exhibit.

"I work from the black-and-white photos and turn them into color," he said. "And as a woman whose mother’s portrait I painted e-mailed me when I sent her a JPEG, she said, 'I’m crying because I’m seeing my mother for the first time as a 20 year old.'"

World War II was largely recorded in black and white so there is something pretty amazing about seeing that 1940's world in color for the first time. He also posts descriptions with each portrait about the person shown.

"With every portrait is a story. Because not only do I want you to look at the artwork, I want you to know who that person is."

Demarest will be painting at the Patrick Heath Public Library until November 25.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii