Thursday, August 27, 2015

Laundry Time!

Much of the life of a Sailor or Marine involves things that don't quite fit the brochure or TV ad the recruiter showed them before they signed up! 

And much of daily life aboard a ship is rather like much of daily life on shore: full of banal things like doing the dishes,  doing laundry, and a hundred other similar chores.

The French term for the feeling these activities inspire in a person is, "ennui." Sounds exotic. In English, we call it, "boredom."

When artists paint such regular, every-day things, we call them, "slices of life."

The following oil on panel I did was from an experience I had aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) a few years ago, while deploying with a Marine Corps Osprey Squadron, VMM-263.

In it, I tried to express the "ennui" involved in doing the laundry in a "laundromat" type room, well below deck, along with the heat and relatively cramped space.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Manet the Naval Artist

I came across this image again today while studying naval terms and marine art:


It's a painting by the famous Impressionist painter Edouard Manet (1832-1883) entitled
"The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama."
It depicts the single-ship action between the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama in The Battle of Cherbourg off the coast of France in 1864.

Though Manet himself didn't witness the battle, he almost certainly drew from first-hand accounts of other French citizens, hundreds of whom witnessed the battle as it unfolded just outside the Cherbourg harbor. 

I find it a powerful composition and a good example of marine art and historical illustration.

Old Ironsides! continued...

Progress from the painting I've been working on for the Navy Art Program, "Cleaning the Salute Gun," (9" x 10" acrylic on mounted canvas)

Yesterday's progress:

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Old Ironsides!

In October, I had the privilege of once again touring the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides," and go aboard her as she was taken out for her last "turn around" cruise before entering dry dock sometime this year.
(Click here for my first experience seeing Constitution at Marine Week Boston in 2010).

I am now painting as a civilian artist for the Navy Art Program, and they sent me up to sketch, photograph, and paint the ship and crew--  to document for posterity the wonderful anachronism of the oldest commissioned ship still in the naval service.

Since I got back, I've been drawing and painting scenes from my time on board, and am beginning to see the fruits of my labor.

I've got several paintings in process, both oil and acrylic, as well as some drawings...

Yesterday I finished an acrylic study of a Constitution sailor, with full 1813 uniform complete with coat and cover, working with rope:
Other works, still in process, are several oils, including one featuring one of the female sailors aboard (I refer to this painting unofficially as "Rosie the Sailor"):

Also nearing completion is this oil painting, based on several photos I took of the crew in action, here shown hauling in the lines so we can cast off and get underway.

Yesterday, I began this little acrylic (9" x 10") study of a gunners mate cleaning the "salute gun" after Constitution did a 21gun salute while out in the harbor:

I will keep you posted, perhaps even later in the day, as this one progresses...
Anchors Aweigh!
UPDATED @ 1630, 4 Feb 2015
here's the progress on it from this afternoon:
...and from later in the evening:

Friday, August 08, 2014

A Meer Range War...

The insurgency of the prairie begins, with a Meerkat assault.

Get Some! A little light fun with animals "out on the range"

I've been doodling regularly, and I continue to sketch things like these. Animals, normally cute and fuzzy, suddenly are astronauts, or military or otherwise armed and shooting... (!)

Friday, August 01, 2014

"60" Gunner

Today's drawing--
A "60" gunner walking along on patrol.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Little Treasure, Lost and Found

Here's an old sketch I did while on my first deployment as a combat artist, back in 2006. It's of a young jundi (soldier), one Ali Muhammad Kathair, just before he goes out on patrol in his town of Anah, Iraq:

I'm glad we found it (my wife was organizing her new craft space and found it in some things-- we still have no clue how it got there!). I will submit it to the Combat Art Collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, where it belongs.

Sketches like this one are very valuable, I think, because though they may lack refinement or be a bit "off," they are one of a kind records of something the artist saw.

This sketch and the photos I took were used as inspiration and reference for a portrait sketch I did later of the same subject:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Home of the Commandants

I was going through my photo CDs just now, and found a disc with these photos on it.
They're of the "The Home of the Commandants" in Washington DC, and show the portrait I did of the residence, hanging on the wall in the main hallway.

I still get a kick out of thinking about that.
They really framed it up nicely, too.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Monumental Happenings Continue

Here are the updated renderings I mentioned in the previous post, for the upcoming Marine Aviation Monument.  I souped up the color a bit compared to the previous iterations, and added some detail to suggest what the final bas reliefs will portray:

I also did another architectural rendering of the proposed monument, to be used in a promotional piece:
 It's a veritable hodgepodge of visual elements including digital work, drawings, photographs and sculpted items (the finial Emblem on the top is actually the maquette I did for the project) I must also give credit to Natalie of the architectural firm Fentress, whose original rendering using my design sketches I used as the inspiration and derivation for this image. 

And here are the original brainstorming thumbnail sketches I did for the project, scribbled on the back of a sheet of used paper: