“Music is therapy for the soul.” My love for music began, during my military career. I started listening to music in the early 1980’s for enjoyment, but as I expanded my taste in music, I discovered certain types of music relaxed me and other types gave me energy. My favorite genre of music is jazz because it helps me relax and regain my sense of balance, especially after a long day of work or deployments. During those days we did not receive redeployment debriefings. Basically we were released after we cleaned and secured our equipment.

Currently soldiers receive debriefings on how to readjust to civilian life. Sometimes a debriefing is not enough, I had to do my own work. I had to find a way to decompress myself, and music became the tool I needed for self-therapy.

I spent 7 of my 21 years career deployed or away from home as a Field Artillery solider. That was a lot of stress from a lack of sleep and the demand of doing one’s job. The most interesting period of time was the weekend after redeployment; because that was when soldiers vented their stress, usually not in positive ways. That was also the period of time when soldiers received the most disciplinary actions. What helps me channel my stress is listening to jazz, particularly on my way home from work and after I arrive home. Jazz music may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

I retired from the Army in 2003 and since that time, I have added painting as another tool in my arsenal for self-therapy. Painting is a distraction; it changes one’s outlook. For example, when I am feeling anxious about something I paint. Within a few minutes, I am totally focused on painting. I remember days when I had what I though was a problem, which seem less important after I started painting. I am a self-taught painter; I never took a class. I chose abstract art because it usually evokes one’s creative thoughts, emotions, passions or indifference. Most of my work is done in the nonrepresentational or art without shapes and identifiable figures in the painting.

Reflective thought: art is the act of changing or creating something. In my case it was changing my state of mind or looking a situation differently.

The painting process for me always starts with an idea. The end result is a representation of that idea on canvas. The goal is not to fight the process but to allow the process to take place. It is the process of not controlling the outcome or having a fixed idea; it is about reaching a level of freedom within me that allows the paint and canvas to determine its own outcome. The principle abstract painting teaches to let go of trying to control the outcome of the painting and life. I enjoy painting because it is relaxing and challenging at the same time. It also brings out the creative side of my personality.

Reginald’s Artistic Background:
I started painting about five years ago. I have always been fascinated with art, especially modern art. I was at a period in my life a few years ago where I could pursue my artist side. Over the past few years, I started listening to music when I paint. Music affects my mood, and that determines what and how I paint.

After my Army career, I wanted to cultivate a hobby. Painting seems like a logic choice. It was a great way to relax, but it really did not kick into high gear until I started my Master’s Degree program. For instance, I had to write several lengthy papers during the program. Every time I experience “writer’s block,” or I was unable to complete my thoughts, I would paint. After several hours of painting, my writer’s block disappeared and I continued writing with greater creative thought. I am a self-taught artist because I wanted to development my own style without being influenced by someone else’s standard of creative expression. I am an abstract artist. The median I use is acrylic paint on canvas. Abstract art is using shapes, forms, colors, and texture to represent a reality. There are two types of abstract art; figurative and non-figurative. I primarily focus my work on non-figurative abstract paintings. Non-figurative abstract art has no identifiable figures, shapes or lines in the painting. Whereas figurative abstract art has identifiable figures, shapes or lines in the painting.

Artistic Influences:
I admire the work of painters such as Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollack, Joan Miro, Joan Mitchell, Jean Michel Baptiste, and Pablo Picasso. Some of my musical influences are artist such Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Rick Braun, etc., just to name a few.

Reginald art has been displayed at:

Reginald's art is available for purchase. He can be contacted at: (651) 994-0284

Author's Bio: 

Reginald La Grone is a Army Veteran who was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. He enlisted in the United State Army's Field Artillery Branch on November 16, 1982. His military career lasted for 21 years until he officially retired as a First Sergeant on March 31, 2003.

In 2014, Reginald received a MA Degree in Human Resources and Change Leadership with a specialization in Organization Development. In 2002, he received a MS in Human Relations. In 1991, he received a BS in Criminal Justice.

In 2006, Reginald began working in the Security Division for Hennepin County in Minneapolis, MN.