This month for our Veteran Artist Spotlight, we share with you the amazingly talented Artist and Mental Health Counselor, Alexis Laryea!

Alexis contributed to the CBAW Memorial Day painting and veteran poetry reading event last month, and we are so excited to share that she will join our programs director, Ashy Palliparambil this Wednesday, June 8th at 7 pm ET, to co-facilitate our visual art workshop on drawing stick figures!

Click to register for this workshop.

Click the above flyer to register for this workshop.


Let’s get to know Alexis! Check out her statement and this short Q&A on her creative process.

“I am a 15 and some year veteran from Chester, PA. I served in the Army Reserve as a 75F and 42A. My goal was to retire after 20 years but I came home sick from my deployment. The Army said we have no use for a Soldier with an autoimmune disease, so I was medically retired and left to figure things out on my own. I went back to school to become a mental health counselor to help others deal with the trauma in their lives.” -Alexis Laryea

Alexis on her artistic process: “I really like to use discarded materials, the things that most people shy away from. I’m also a doodler (just made that up) and like to just make a bunch of lines and see if it sticks!
How Alexis sums up her work as an artist: “A few words come to mind; renewing, second chance, begin again, and beautiful scraps. Maybe you can add that to my new career of Mental health Counselor because like the random pieces I use, I am also discarded (forced medical retirement for having an autoimmune disease).”


Seven Questions with Alexis Laryea

CBAW: What medium (or form) do you work in and why?

Alexis Laryea: “I’ll use anything, I don’t have a favorite.

CBAW: What do you love about artmaking?

AL: “It is self-soothing and helps me focus on what is happening on the paper and not what’s in my mind.”

CBAW: What is your favorite quote about art or about life?

AL: “I don’t really have one. I would say eat the cake and buy those things you wanted. You are worth it!”

CBAW: What experiences have led you to making art?

AL: “I’ve always been interested in art, I get it from my dad. Art and music were a large part of my life growing up. I found a new love for art through trauma and using the paintbrush and the pen to express myself, to make sense of the insensible.”

CBAW: What do you think about when you’re making art?

AL: “Everything really and sometimes nothing at all! That’s what nice about art; you don’t need an agenda.“

CBAW: What do you hope someone gets from looking at your artwork?

AL: “I hope that it brings a smile to their faces and maybe through my simple pieces they will be inspired to give it a try.”

CBAW: What medium or imagery is exciting for you right now?

AL: “Using discarded things such as an already painted canvas, old pieces of a military uniform, and those little packets of beads (image below) you find in everything. Just about anything can be used in some way.”

Artwork by Alexis Laryea made with those little desiccant beads.

Artwork by Alexis Laryea made with those little desiccant beads.


We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little about Alexis. Please join us on Wednesday, June 8th at 7 PM when we welcome her into our virtual workshop for How To Draw A Stick Figure. Details below.

How to Draw a Stick Figure with Alexis Laryea & Ashy Palliparambil

If someone asks you to make some art, is your instant response, “I can’t even draw a stick figure?” Have no fear, CBAW is here to help! Join this fun visual art workshop focusing on the basics of creating various stick figures. Once you have conquered this hurdle, you are welcome to join us every Wednesday for our 100% free Visual Art Workshop.

Suggested Supplies: 

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Anything else you want – highlighters, markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.

Register by clicking here.