SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - With the stroke of a paintbrush, many projects come to life. Whether painting a room, creating a piece of art, or touching up furniture, painting adds a creative, personal touch, turning the blandest of projects into a work of art.

Artists have practiced painting for hundreds of years. Through various painting courses at the Arts & Crafts Center here, members of the military ohana are unleashing their own artistic talents and finding a medium that best suites their tastes.

Art instructor Nikki Mizak stood behind family member Erin Rakes as she carefully dipped her paintbrush in oil paint, Tuesday, during the Adult Oil Painting class. On the table, four wine bottles and two wine glasses stood perfectly still, as if posing for the new artist.

A blank canvas leaned slightly on the tabletop easel. Rakes then placed the paintbrush on her canvas and ran the paint across in one brisk stroke. Mizak offered advice and explained techniques.

"The still life helps new artists explore the contrast of light and reflection and create depth within their artwork," said Mizak. "It's a lot better than painting from a photograph where your subject is flat, especially for a beginner."

The oil class is one of three painting classes offered at the center for adult family members to pursue artistic endeavors. The center also offers acrylic and watercolor painting classes.

Students at each class learn an array of painting techniques, color theory and art history. The different classes allow family members to explore various mediums and create works of art.

Thursday night, family members gathered for the acrylic painting class. Each picked a subject and began to draw it out on canvas.

Family member Heather Brock painted a landscape from a recent trip to California. A brightly colored hot air balloon filled the left side of the canvas.

"I think having access to these kinds of tools is great," said Brock. "You can experiment and explore and find out what you are good at.

"You also get professional instruction and all the resources needed to create art without a whole lot of financial investment," Brock continued.

Mizak suggested experimenting with various mediums at the Arts & Crafts Center before investing in paints, since paint preference varies from person to person.

Mizak said oil paints are the most forgiving and offer depth within a painting, but take days to dry. Oils also produce softer textures and are more brilliant in color. Acrylic paints dry fast and produce sharper edges, but tend to be a bit flat. With watercolors, artists have only one chance to create a piece of work, but the medium carries a very specific look, according to Mizak.

"Some people believe they have no artistic talent," said Mizak. "This gives family members a chance to try their hand at art and unleash the talent within them."

Mizak explained the intention of each painting project is to encourage participants to explore new subjects and techniques and to challenge them in a new way. She added, artwork is considered priceless because it conveys the inner thoughts of a painter.

"Each painting is unique and illustrates the artist's perception of life," said Mizak. "After a few lessons, each student is amazed at what they can do."

For more information on adult art classes at the Schofield Barracks Arts & Crafts Center, call 808-655-4202.