Ilia Lomba’s interest in art began in the most unexpected way during her deployment to Saudi Arabia/ Iraq, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During long hours of battalion movement in the desert, rest/sleep time was infrequent, so exhaustion was an issue. It was important to be alert and functional.
Somehow having an abundance of paper, pencils, and magic makers in the five ton expansible truck, she started doodling. At first, it was with her right hand, then it switched to both right and left hands. This helped her from falling asleep. It was vital to be awake in order to provide the troop support that was required. She was assigned to a Forward Support Battalion with the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Ft. Stewart, Georgia. All previous assignments had been Medical and Aeromedical Research. She had no fine arts training in her life. So doodling, drawing, and painting were not part of her life experience.
She considered taking a drawing class at San Antonio College to explore the possibilities when she retired from the Army. Doodling had opened new pathways in exploring life. Doodling led to drawing and drawing led to painting. A world of green, black, and white transitioned with a vital force on canvas. The process was slow, but energizing. What was once a survival process became a ruling passion!
Today, Ilia spends time each week exploring shapes, colors, and the world of dynamic interaction with each piece she is working on. Many of her paintings are based on old colonial Hispanic architecture in Puerto Rico. However, sometimes the horrors of war come to surface.
Throughout her stay at San Antonio College, some of her painting have been selected by the Juried Visual Arts Student Exhibition for display. Presently, eight of her paintings are in the school gallery.
Interesting note, her first painting select for display at the school gallery was a battle scene in Iraq!