10-year-old gives three watercolor paintings to Army veteran

An artist will never truly know which piece of work will make an impact in someone’s life.

That’s a lesson 10-year-old Audra Wilson found out first hand.

When 38-year-old Army veteran Doug Frost looked at the artwork hung up at Cpl. Ray’s Coffee in early May, a trio of trees painted by Wilson caught his eye.

Frost emailed Wilson’s private art teacher Shelly Brown and asked about the three watercolor paintings. Brown talked it over with Wilson and Wilson’s family and they agreed to give the artwork to Frost.

On Thursday afternoon at the coffee shop, Wilson gave the Army veteran the trio of trees.

“It meant a lot to me that it spoke to him like that,” Wilson said about giving the artwork to Frost.

During Thursday’s exchange, it was also the first time Wilson and Frost met face-to-face.

Wilson, a fourth grader at Compass Academy Charter School in Odessa, painted on three separate canvases a single tree with red, blue and yellow backgrounds.

The three paintings together formed what she said were seasons of the year.

However, those weren’t the same feelings that ran across the mind of Frost. The Army veteran said the trees reminded him of what it’s like for other veterans to come home from war.

As a token of gratitude, Frost gave Wilson his deployment patch and a pin.

Frost went on two deployments to Iraq. His final deployment was about eight months in 2011.

Wilson said she appreciates the gifts from Frost, because she wasn’t anticipating a token in return.

“I really didn’t expect it,” Wilson said. “It meant a lot to me.”

Brown said she has taught private art lessons for the last five years. Wilson has taken classes from Brown for the past three years.

Each year, Brown keeps the standard at eight kids for her six separate classes. Every class is an hour and half long with classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Brown said that she will possibly be accepting new students in August, but will allow the opportunity for her current students to re-enroll in her class before accepting new ones.

“You don’t ever know when that’s going to happen,” Brown said about Wilson giving artwork to Frost. “Your real goal is to teach people how to reach other people through things they love. That doesn’t always happen.

“I told the kids last week, ‘You don’t know when you are going to touch somebody.’ That’s the greatest thing about art. You do it for one thing and you think it’s something, but it speaks to someone else. That’s very difficult to teach.”

Wilson said having the ability to give three pieces of artwork to a veteran gives her added incentive to continue being an artist.

“It makes me think that maybe there are some other people that like my other pieces,” Wilson said.