OKEECHOBEE — Navy veteran David Joyner loves to paint. “I’ve never really been good at anything else,” he said. “I just believe God made me to paint.”
Joyner moved to Okeechobee with his mother Netty and siblings — Herman, Cheryl and Diane — from Frost Proof in 1976. Herman and Diane joined the Army shortly after the family arrived. David went to Okeechobee High School and graduated in 1990.
Immediately after graduation, he joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman. At first, he spent time working on a geriatric ward but then was transferred to postpartum and then prenatal. “I even got to work in labor and delivery some,” he said. Joyner liked the job, but said his nerves could not handle the high stress times. When things when smoothly, he loved it, but when life and death situations came up, he did not like that feeling of having someone’s life in his hands.
After his discharge, he returned to Okeechobee and did various jobs, searching for something that he could excel in. “I just always felt like I wasn’t really all that good at things most people were good at,” he said. Over the years, he has worked for Walmart, the prison, the boys’ school, owned a bread truck and now, works as a mail carrier. “Some of this is high stress too,” he said. “All I can do is just do my best every day.”
If Joyner could have his dream job, it would be painting. He has loved art from the time he was a small child. “I started drawing when I was about 8 I guess.” He never had a lesson in his life, but said his mom was always very supportive and now, he feels blessed to have a wife who is the same. “Both of them mean everything to me,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how I could do this.”
Joyner works long hours but spends as much time as possible on his art. He still draws but moved more toward painting as his passion, using acrylic paints because they are cheaper and easier to work with. Because he has had no training, he had to teach himself. “I used to call paint companies. I knew they wanted to sell their stuff, and I wanted to learn. I would ask them questions, then buy their supplies. It was a win-win for both of us.”
Through trial and error, Joyner learned how to blend colors and match and “just figure it out.” He said his policy has always been to ask himself “what if?” “What if I mix these colors? What if I mix that in?” He just kept experimenting until he learned and he still learns more every day.
Joyner does sell his work and will work on commission. He has a website, davidjoynerart.com and a Facebook page of the same name. He can be reached at 863-5320702.