‘Just Paint It’ course creates more than just artwork

Behni Moosavi-Shalmani

Behni Moosavi-Shalmani

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Art instructor Behni Moosavi-Shalmani believes everyone is bestowed with creativity. They just need to give themselves the opportunity to blossom.

She is the course provider of ‘Paint It!’ for the Personnel Support Programs recreation department.

“I can say with confidence that everyone who leaves one of my classes, leaves with a big smile on their face,” she says. “I am trying to reach out to the people who have never painted before and don’t believe they can do it.”

Her easy going, no pressure and relaxing atmosphere in the class enables first-time painters to be brave with what they paint and how they paint it.

“When an artist begins to paint they may struggle at first and find parts of a painting they are not happy with; this is exactly comparable to the struggles we face in real life” explains Behni. “These are experiences everyone goes through, so the big thing to do is take a step back and realize mistakes can be corrected and covered. There is always a chance to change. The important thing is to relax and let your mind and thoughts guide what you create.”

Moosavi-Shalmani, 37, is a Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) employee and Personnel Support Programs (PSP) contractor. She is a military spouse, married to Cpl Hamid Anghaei who works for Base Logistics distribution centre in Colwood. The couple have two children and live in Langford.

“When I’m working at CFB Esquimalt it’s like being at home and being with family,” she says. “I live the military lifestyle, so I feel comfortable with its people and love to work with them.”

She learned art skills in a specialized high school art program while growing up in Iran. Then she earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Tehran where she focussed on painting, sculpture, and photography. When she left Iran she had to leave much of her artwork behind. Over the years, she has developed a new portfolio of work since her move to Canada in 2006.

Behni says her artwork is best described as expressionism, where she seeks to depict not objective reality, but rather the subjective emotions and responses that nearby objects arouse.

“When I paint, I like my paintings to talk, and my goal is to get people to look at them not just for face value but to get a true feeling from my painting.” 

The class is open to all military members, DND civilian employees, and their family members. Cost is $30 and includes the art materials. To further entice would-be artists and add to the smile factor, there is the incentive of free chocolate.

The class runs 6 and 8 p.m. every other Friday and alternates locations between the Chiefs and Petty Officers’ Mess and the Regina Room at the Colwood Pacific Activity Centre (CPAC).

For more information about Paint It and to register call 250-363-1009.


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