Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two Paintings Done. One to Go For Now!

Two paintings are complete.  "The Lobsterman and His Son"  To my readers this painting has much more than the eye can see. A dad and his son have a special relationship when distinguished by friendship such as Joel and his son Lcpl Rob McCann.  He is proud of all Rob has achieved in life whether it be hockey, or college or best of all, being a United States Marine.  Joel has delighted in his "real" conversations with Rob out there on his lobster boat dancing in the surf over the wreck of the Annie McGuire.  As they talk about life and speak whats really happening in metaphorical lobsterman terms, his big heart longs for the day he sees Rob return safe.  This is a dangerous business, being a marine.  As parents we place visual reminders for all to see that our son is away in a distant land.  Joel has his Marine Corp flag (small size) hanging off the wench of his boat.  In the painting, all you can see of it is the faded orange fleck of color next to the wench.  The time is nearing for their return and hugs will soon replace those reminders.\
So this painting is not so much what you see that is important, it is what you don't see - the things that lie just under the surface.

"Young Warriors" is complete.  Prints will be available, as all the artwork is, as soon as I have the painting scanned when I get back to Syracuse.  Joel's son stands with these young men.  For now father and son will talk on those satellite phones that bring Afghanistan and Portland Head together.  And for that little bit of time, we parents, know everything is alright, for now.

Next, is the underpainting to "The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done - Lcpl Nathan McCormick".  I have used oil bars and oil paints with neo megilp to speed the drying time. Nathan requested I paint this one before he left on deployment.   There will be more to come.  The race is on because they are coming home early.  My Christmas Gift.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Young Warriors" Almost There

Okay.  Just a quick one today on "Young Warriors".  Working with oil pastel has its challenges.  I have worked with many types of oil pastels, bars and oil pencils to bring out as much detail as I can.  As an artist, sometimes my paintings dictate to me what it will become because of my media's characteristics.  The best and very nice outcome of oil pastel is its soft detail.  Not strong harsh lines but soft suggested details.  Almost done.  Just a little more to go. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Final on "Morning Patrol"

Here is a moody, silhouetted piece called "Morning Patrol".  It just makes you kind of think what is like to be there on a early morning patrol.  Visibility is not very good because there has been a sand storm that is hanging in the air and there is little being said amongst each other.  They are  vigilently watching as they peer through the darkened shadows of Marjah.  Fire fights came so often last year, I can just imagine this time.   

It consists of a base layer of Light Moulding Paste, a watercolor lay down of Fluid Acrylics followed by many layers of glazes and gel mediums. 

More to come on "Young Warriors"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Update on "Young Warriors"

Here is the latest update on "Young Warriors".  The push is on to complete this series.  5 paintings in the works.  
Once I get the details and expressions into this painting it will show exactly why "Young Warriors" is such an important painting to me.  What I want you to see is their passion for life, their hands are dirty, they are worn and weary, but determined and surprisingly happy (in the midst of all that strife).  They are survivors.  On this day, they were in and out of canals, facing fire fights and IED's; they are brothers; their youthful smiles alone will disarm you and yet they are battle hardened!  These are  the youngest Warriors to go into battle since the Vietnam war.  Twenty of them bore that distinction in his battalion last year, bearing ages starting 18 to 21.  Doesn't that just amaze you?   

Until last week I had not worked on this oil pastel for some time.  I got some motivation from a certain Staff Sergeant Izzel Sanchez.  He is participating in a very special program at Syracuse University that teaches photo journalism to our troops.  We met at the Veteran's Expo and Izzel asked if he could do an interview. 

On a very typical Tuesday, Izzel and his camera man followed me to a Syracuse Marine Parents meeting at the VFW in Mattydale where he wound up being quite the guest of honor by cutting the Marine Birthday cake.  After our meeting they came over to my studio to finish the interview.  He asked if he could film a piece that working on with marines.  I picked young warriors.  At this point, I am 2/3's of the way into the finished piece.  I am using oil pastels with oil bars and oil pencils on BFK Reeves Paper. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thank You To All and New Updates

Saturday was a great day to be a Veteran and a pleasure to say thank you in a very special way by presenting "A Military Experience - A Parents Perspective".   The Marine Corps 236th Birthday is Thursday November 10th, (I carry Forest's 3/6 235th Marine Corp Birthday Ball coin in my pocket.) and Friday is Veteran's day. 

To my Marines:  OoRah and Semper Fi.  I think I will have to stop by the recruiting office on my way into work tomorrow morning.  I just have to hug a marine.  I am praying Forest can fit in a skype call tomorrow too.  Thank you so much for what you do.  You are making a difference in this world.  It is a better place because of you.   

To my Veterans:  Giving back, just means so much to me.  I see your commitment, joys, pains, honor, sorrows, courage, and your perseverance in the midst of unbelievable odds.  It is a privilege to honor you through my artwork.  The freedom I live in is through your sacrifice.  God Bless You and Your Families.

I found this link today to the Marine Corp Birthday and it speaks so much of our Veterans and why they do what they do.  at  I cried when I saw this because I have an understanding by working on this series of what they go through and this is why.  Thank you to the Commandant of the Marine Corps for this message. 

Now it is time for the latest update on "A Lobsterman And His Son" update.  Just getting past the underpainting. 

Portland Head Lighthouse is one of the most famous along the coast of Maine along with my favorite dinner that Joel catches.  Back in 1976, I stepped onto an ocean tour boat around Bar Harbor Maine that journeyed on fairly smooth water.  It is hard to imagine what it would be like in the rough waters in front of Portland Head Light.  I remember asking him what that was like to trap lobsters out on the ocean.  Joel told me, "There is a rhythm as you and the boat "dance on the surf" that you learn to get used to.  Hmmm!  Never thought of it as a dance.  I would like to try that and look over at the wreck of the Annie C. Maguire laying just under those waters and contemplate what is happening with his son Rob and my Forest, all those miles away in Afghanistan  Some heroes are in the form of a dad here in the U.S. (he would do anything to help his son).  Some heroes (Rob and Forest) are in a foreign land protecting not only his dad, but all of us).  Neither of them see themselves as heroes, but they are to each other.  More to go. 

And last night I found out I will be receiving some of those crustaceans Joel traps for dinner on Thursday (and I have the butter just for it!).  Can I tell you, being a parent of a Marine, has its perks?  

This one is just a start and wont look like much for a while called "Remember".
  It is an acrylic piece where I am using photos of the things we hold most dear between us.  The things we have with us to remember each other constantly can sit on the inside of a helmet with a fiance' tucked inside, perhaps jewelry worn everyday while they are gone that occasionally gets grasped during the day or maybe there is a little one, some yet to be held for the first time by their daddy who is fighting for our freedoms.    I am using special acrylic mediums to produce transfers and block prints.  More to come!   

The links are thanks to YouTube for the Commandant of the Marine Corps birthday message and Wickepedia for the little tidbits of information. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Presenting my full Military Series at the Veteran's Expo and spot on Bridge Street

I sent this invite via email to all I could, but just Hello everyone: 

On Thursday I will be on Bridge Street talking about my artwork called, "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" at the Veteran's Expo and Parade on the NY State Fairgrounds November 5th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm in the Center of Progress building. I think this link is ok to use.  If not I will take it off tomorrow morning.  There is free parking and a parade that starts 12:00 pm at the Colosseum and ends at the Expo. This is a very large community event that is family friendly. You will find me in with the Syracuse Marine Parents and Military Courtesy Room. There will be blank cards with envelopes that people can decorate and fill out going into our military care packages for the troops this holiday season as just some of the activities that will be there. As many of you have seen, I have several paintings in all kinds of media's, each with their own stories that I have been writing in my blog at The purpose of my paintings and drawings is not about me so much as an artist, it is more importantly about our brave military and the families that stand behind them. There is emotion in what I portray, because I want people to experience what it is like to have a family member serving in all parts of our world. They have fought so hard, concurred and protected each other and civilians that have only begun to realize the price freedom costs and its benefits. Our son's have come into the military desiring to make a difference in this world and they have done that. Their faces reflect their bravery, integrity and heroism. They are due the honor for what they selflessly give to preserve and protect the freedoms we hold so dear. Perhaps you have never thought of going to a Veteran's day event. Keep this in mind, 1% of our population serves in harms way right now somewhere in our world. If you haven't gone to a Veterans event, come along my friends; there are heroes that abound here. Let's celebrate and enjoy some of my artwork. By the way my son, Lcpl Forest Blair will be returning home sometime after the holidays. My Christmas tree will be going up uncharacteristically early and stay up until way after New Year's, decked out in what else, Red White and Blue! See you there.

Sharon A. Blair, Proud Mom of Lcpl Forest Blair, USMC and Artist

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Final "Watching Over You" is going to print.

Thought you might like to the finished peice of "Watching Over You".  It will be going off to print and get framed. 

Tonight I worked on another painting that you may not have see lately called "Embassy Duty Guards" and guess where they are standing?  The Pyramids of Egypt.  And this one is a big painting.  I haven't been able to move it because it is 48x60 inches.  I need Micheal to move it for me.  Right now their faces are just color blocked.  I will be putting in the details this week.  Hoping to get it done for the show on November 5th at the Fairgrounds.  We will see how much I can fit into this week.  To bed for now.  More story tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Progression on "Watching Over You"

Titles will either be there before a painting starts or it will evolve and come to light like this one with Lcpl Bryan Bullock I am calling, "Watching Over You".   I asked Forest what that is like being topside.   Bryan is 14 feet up in a turret that is part of a mammoth vehicle called an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) Armored Vehicle.  He told me when you are up there you have a 360 degree view so you can direct the ones below driving that have limited vision.  It is a very important part of that job, so Bryan is keeping watch over his brothers in the vehicle below.  Their teamwork is a part of them, like a family they will do anything to keep each other safe. 
I know they are trained this way, but I can tell you as parents, we had the first part in that training.    While at homecoming last year at Camp Lejeune, I observed a squad of marines driving tanks.  They looked so happy, I noted to memory my own title, "A Man and His Tank!".  I think Bryan has that happy look too. 

Almost there on this pastel on velour board.  Pastels carry a soft look as it is but with this velour board it is even softer, kind of like oil on velvet.  There will be more to come very soon.  I am trying to finish this for the Veteran's Expo and Homecoming Parade at the NY State Fairgrounds November 5th.  Lots happening, hope to see you there.  I want to give back to my heroes.  When I sell prints, 10 % will go to the Wounded Warriors.  I can only take orders at the expo, but I am still so grateful to be able to present and tell their stories.  Big thanks to Diana Abdella at Assemblyman's Magnerelli's office.  She has been responsible to putting together this Veteran's Celebration that will take time to honor our military.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update on "The Lobsterman of Portland Head"

Here is the latest on the painting of Joel McCann, "The Lobster Man of Portland Head".  Last Weekend I demonstrated oil bars that work like drawing with a tube of oil paint.  
I still want to jump on board and try some lobster trapping in that surf at Portland Head.  I may turn out to be a real landlubber, but I would still like to give it a go (even if it is just for a day).  Have you ever done that? 

I have a few paintings going on that I would love to have everyone ready for Nov. 5th, so the race is on.  Part of me is trying to write to the National Museum of the Marines, Jacksonville, NC that will start its construction soon and have my series available for their opening, the other is sending information still to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia, the Joining Forces initiative and the Smithsonian in DC.  All in the works, so I will give you updates on that as it progresses.  Wish I had two of me. 

I still have not named this painting in Panpastel on velour board of Lcpl Bryan Bullock (could be corporal by now, not sure).  I would love to know what was going on in his mind that day.  It is such a cool perspective. 

I have met his wife Devin and we have spoke a few times.  They are newly weds.  Can only imagine what that is like for Devin here at home and Bryan out there.  I have another painting with a photo in a helmet, that is part of a larger collage called "while you were away".   

More updates to come. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Putting "A Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective" Into Perspective

Last week, I discovered how important it is to keep your dreams on tract.  These paintings each have their own stories, yet they congeel and connect together.  Like a group of individual short stories, they come together by centering around a journey in this military life.  This week I sort of lost tract of what I was tying to do.  I focused on the art rather than reason for the art.  The series needs to stay together and not go to contests for one individual painting.  The paintings are linked together and should be shown together.  

When I started this series "A Military Series  - A Parent's Perspective", I asked God if he could bless me with the talent to capture what I saw, I would tell their stories.  God has given me that ability and passion to represent through my paintings, our brave military and the families that stand behind them.  It is my job to present each story, to teach America what our families are going through and how we see the commitment our sons and daughters put into motion everyday, keeping you safe and free. 

This series is meant to break barriers between differenting views and opinions the general public may have.  What is behind the weaponry is a very real person who is making a difference in this world.  Freedom is not free, it takes work and investment to bring about change in a foreign land, whose outcome produces peace.   

Next month, after the 174th Army division's homecoming parade, I will present all 15 paintings and all those stories at the Veteran's Expo at the State Fair Grounds from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.   

Friday, September 30, 2011

Final on "Daddy Don't Go" and progression on "Got You In My Sight"

"Daddy Don't Go" is finished and on its way to getting framed. 

I will be calling Major David Schreiner to show him the finished work.  We had a discussion when I was first working on it.  I have a few more to ask.  Addison is now 5.  Such sorrowful eyes.  I know her daddy loves her. 

It reminds me we have quite a few new additions this deployment to Forest's 3/6 battalion.  The next painting coming up will be about those things that keep us going during deployment called, "While You Were Out".  We will keep little reminders close by like a bracelet or dog tag for a mom or fiance or wife.  Some of the guys will put photos under their helmets (Forest tells me the photos don't last long because of the sweat-ewhh!).  Some will have a photo of a new baby born in the US during the months of deployment.  Just wait until homecoming- Awhh!  These little ones are just so sweet.  And we are all praying for a quick and safe return home.    I am still looking for the rest of the babies pictures and getting permission to use the images for        this painting, so more to come. 

"Got You In My Sight", The image is due to go to the Gamblin Paint company before the end of the day.  I will be putting the finishing touches on the weapon.  It is just a cool angle to look at. 

Big demo day at work.  I will be starting another PanPastel with Cpl Bryan Bullock(Cool angle on this one too).  Looking forward to this one on Velor Board.  Got to go. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Got My Sights On You"

You may need to see "Got My Sights On You" at its finish to understand all that is happening in this painting.  The photographer gives you an unusual look into what a marine is looking through.  Ever wonder what it is like to take aim?  Deadly aim?  This is what it looks like from a warriors view. 

I am using an unstretched peice of canvas that I have applied over clear gesso.  Gamblin has a contest to produce a monocolor using Toret Gray with black and white.  More to come this week as Gamblin needs a final submitted by Oct 1.  I will be pushing because I also will be talking with some marketing consultants on my Military Series.  Busy week ahead. 

A start on "Lobsterman of Portland Head" and in process on "Young Warriors"

This is about a relationship between a father and a son.  We have very brave young men out there and our sons will lay down their very lives for those they serve along with and fight for.  Be glad America you have a marine watching over you.  They are truly mighty men of valor. 

We talk to our sons out there in Afghanistan and we listen carefully to every word and unspoken pauses.  As a dad, Joel listens to what his son Rob is doing out there with absolute respect and awe.  You see as parents, our sons have become our heroes.  They have matured beyond their years as we reflect on the transformation we have seen from teenager to the warrior they are now. 

Joel is a lobster man and his boat dances in the surf off  Portland Head's famous lighthouse.  There is a unique language out there that is exclusive to the area.  Lobsterman terms shared between father and son gave Joel a unique look into what our marines were doing.  If a call comes in while he on his boat Joel makes his way to the stern, dangles his feet over the water and talks in his metaphorical terms.  Rob will tell his dad that some days in Afghanistan new bait works better, red fish was expensive (better, more high tech weaponry) or herring bait meant (everyday weaponry used).  Sometimes in Rob's travels on his Afghanistan patrols, he may go the short distance between Cliff Island to Peaks Island, or as far as Cliffs Island to Portland.  No sensitive secrets given, just a language spoken in native lobstermans terms off the coast of Maine near the wreck of the Annie McGuire.  Joel sails his hauler with his son's photo in a medallion and a marine flag that he will not replace until his son comes home safe.  He even saves the threads from the flag that are wearing out in a bag nearby.  He will retire that flag with all its parts later.  For now, this father truly misses his son of whom he is so proud.  Rob and his dad are not so far as they share a heart language.  Here, the continents bridge.        

I started color blocking this in an oil.  More to come on this one.

Also is an in process update on "Young Warriors"  This is an oil pastel utilizing oil bars and oil based colored pencil.  More also on this one to come.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Morning Patrol" - In Process

Introducing "Morning Patrol" or Sunrise in a Dust Storm?  Not sure of the title yet.  The photos from one of my Syracuse Marine Parent's sons, Cpl Jenks, USMC 1/6 Battalion were taken in Marjah, last year.  My son's 3/6 Battalion fought in the same Helmand province for Marjah.  Often we would see news reports of these battalions fighting alongside each other.  Tina and Doug have been such a big help from the time Forest joined back in 2009.  When our sons deployed we exchanged the latest news back and forth to each other from our sons calls, the web and national news.  Those patrols, we know so little as civilians, can be brutle.  A day in the life of a warrior consists of 6 hours on patrol, 6 hours back up on post and 6 hours to sleep.  Many times that sleep is interupted.
In August I demoed at work with glazing layers of fluid acrylics over light molding paste.  I used a canvas that I had and had a canvas I had stretched a while back that I was saving for just the right time.  I am merging two photos on my peice.  This is a small peice but cool photo.  More to come. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Almost there on "Daddy Don't Go"

A parking lot.  At first when I looked at the photo handed to me I thought, "This is one where I will lessen the background, or not?".  Whats so special about a parking lot with such an emotional piece to begin with? 
As I am nearing completion of "Daddy Don't Go", I struggled with that finishing detail in this pastel, until I dropped it in.  It all made sense to the story going on.  This is one of those moments for our military where everything stands still.  When we say our goodbyes, time stands still with a audible silence.  For Mjr David Schreiner, like so many going off to war, this is a very important moment.  A beautiful little girl will grow up so much in the months of deployment.  He notices her pretty pokadot dress, feels the sun and a warm gentle breeze around them.  The texture of the parking lot freezes in his hug and David closes his eyes.  The soft, gentle, best-est Daddy hug Addison can give is very clingy and does not want him to go.  She knows it will be a long time, but doesn't grasp how long.  Major David Schreiner and his daughter lock into their memories, this moment that will carry them through this deployment.  This is a very big deal in this four year olds' life.  For David Schreiner this is his everything he leaves behind.   Last hugs, last kisses, last words spoken, last looks of home.  America, this is their sacrifice.  When you hug your little ones, your wife, your son today before they walk out that door, for a majority of us it may be just hours before you see them again.  These men enter into harms way so you can live in the freedom they fight for.  The world is a better place because of them.  Pray for them and keep them in your thoughts.

On Thursday evenings we have a skype prayer group with the parents of the 3/6.  This last Thursday we centered prayer around so many families living in or near Camp Lejeune that will be affected by hurricane Irene.  We are praying for their safety and our men out in Afghanistan.  I am sure they are praying too.  Stay safe North Carolina, in prayer, we've got yer back! 

The digital in Davids' shirt will take some time to place in.  Not quite as picky as Nick Said's scarf in "No Greater Friend - No Worse Enemy", but definitely a challenge in pastel.  After that some minor details and it will be finished. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Presentation at Mallory Weslyan Church

The paintings of Lcpl Nicholas Said and Lcpl Forest Blair in "And We Prayed" are about what happens when two or more pray that is when miracles happen.  What could be a better place to tell this story than at the Mallory Weslyan Chruch last Sunday.  Pastor Greg Stein graciously let me talk during their church service about, "A Military Series - A Parents Perspective". 

I brought along 10 peices to show with their stories from my blog.  Each one has a powerful story of what it is like to be in the military.  It is equally a story of what we experience as a family member.  Our community usually does not
understand what we experience in this journey but most want to learn.   In turn most will become prayer partners when they hear about "And We Prayed".  
This was the first time I shared the miracles of that week last June 2010 
There were two men shot that week and not hurt.  I showed Forests' camel pack and explained where the 7.62 mil. bullet traveled while Forest was on the ground firing his weapon.  The other who was shot through the helmet with only a graze to the forhead.  
The reason for the miracles were directly related to our prayers here in the US.  While they fought everyday, back here people were praying.  Any one who offered prayers, I added them onto my prayer list  God hears, He sees and answers every one.  

The rest of my paintings were hung all around the sanctuary and the fellowship hall.  After the service many people looked through the paintings and their stories.  Lcpl Prevart Janveir's -"His Sandbags" captured interest for its variety of drawing media and mood.  Many have added Penny Riley, my Gold Star Mom onto their prayer lists as they viewed the oil painting "Greif", and will never to forget her sons sacrifice.  Weiner Wolfe took her place in the series as she won the hearts of all who read her story.  The priercing eyes of Lcpl Nicholas Said, drew people in from around the church.  

Thank you Mallory Weslyan for letting me share their story with you. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

This weekends presentation for "And We Prayed"

Well the presentations are about to begin here in the Central NY area.  This weekend I will give a 10 minute presentation in a service at the Wesleyan Church, on 5 Baum Road in Mallory, New York 13103. 315-676-4792.  I will have a short opportunity to share with Pastor Greg and the people in this church about my two paintings, "And We Prayed".  4% of our population here in the United States of America are currently serving in the military.  1% are currently in harms way right now; my son is among them.  I will have the opportunity to share their miracle and how prayer is answered.  For family members we are constantly praying and so are our sons and daughters and we invite you to pray also.  With every person that commits to praying for them I remind Forest of the thousands that are praying for him everyday when he calls me  As for me and my family of prayer warriors, "We believe in the "Power of Prayer!". 

Thank you Pastor Greg and your congregation for letting me be a part of your service.  

The two side by side paintings are framed and ready to show.    More to come.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Daddy, Don't Go"

A little girl put "Deployment" into perfect perspective when I was given this photo of Major David A Schreiner and his daughter Addison.  How could I not do this painting?  Just in case you were wondering what the sacrifice is that our families give to you America; its in this little girls hug.  It's in her eyes.  It's in her daddy's embrace.   
From the very beginning of this journey with "A Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective", I asked God to give me the ability to capture the right moments, the emotion and share their stories with America.  I hope you can not just see it with your eyes, but that you, my audience, come to understand what my military families sacrifice for you.  In this painting David's commitment is to protect you and your little girls to live in freedom and peace. 

A world away it is not so peaceful.  One person does make a difference and David is doing that, just like so many who have heard this call to duty.  God Bless you and keep you safe. 

Here is the start to a Panpastel I am calling, "Daddy, Don't Go".   More to come.


Friday, August 5, 2011

"I'm Out Here; Did You Forget Me?"

Best Birthday gift of all is to wake up to Forest calling home from Afghanistan!  Couldn't ask for better. 

Forest told me in this photograph, he is sitting in a Turret on patrol pensively setting up his camera.  And he really did wonder, "I'm out here.  Did you forget me?"

This 36x48 in oil and oil bar painting went fast.  The weather was wonderful.  I have a big front yard with georgous shade trees, perfect for painting outdoors.  My neighbors liked to watch the painting progress and I had several stop by.  Two of them were marines.  One popped out of his car on his way to work dressed in fatigues and a boot cast.  He is one of our wounded warriors rehabbing here in the states.  The other one is actually still a recruit, but will be on his way to boot camp this fall.  I told him about our Syracuse Marine Parents and how they have been there for me during this journey as a military mom.  Both young men saw something in my sons face that reminded them of everyday life for a deployed marine.  I am so proud of these young men.  They have made a very personal and powerful choice to defend our freedom here and make a difference in this world. 

No, Forest, we did not forget you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Underpainting to "I'm Out Here; Did You Forget Me?"

Just to finally put this one on the map of my series.  Here is the underpainting of "I'm Out Here; Did You Forget Me?". 

I changed my media on this one over to oils.  I may also employ oil bars and am still planning on pastel over if I catch the paint at the right time of dryness.  I want that powder to capture the grittiness of the Afghanistan sands out there.  Sandstorm season is settling down out there about now.  Don't forget them; keep praying because I want to see these faces that I paint again at homecoming. 

Did I mention it was hot out there?  We think we have it bad here with our current heatwave of 100 degrees.  Ha!  That's nothing.  When Forest called last it was 135degrees.  Set a digital oven to 140 degrees and then stand in front of it.  Then imagine 150 pounds worth  of gear. 

I am sending along neck coolers and a letter to Forest on where I was today.  While he worked with 135 plus temps, I wimped out at 100+ degrees and went figure skating.  No sunburns, but I did get an iceburn from a skid across the ice.  He'll be getting these pic's in his care package too.  

Love my marine! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Updates and a Ready to Frame - "And We Prayed"

During the process of my paintings each one develops more meaning to its name as I work on it.  More details on the stories come about.  "And We Prayed" is no exception.  This was their miracle week.  For a grateful parent this was my answered prayers confirmed week.

Right around the time this photo was taken I received that call from Forest at work.  "I got shot.  I'm not hurt.  Mom, God's got me, keep praying."  But there is more, another guy in his unit was shot with the bullet entering the helmet and running around the inside of the helmet and ricocheting out!  Wow!  Aren't you just left in your mind saying, "Thank you Lord for protection, for flack jackets, for helmets.  Amen and Amen!".  With this painting I will display Forest's camel pack.   I want the viewers to take a good look at it too.  When you examine the camel pack you can see where that 7.62 ml bullet holes entered and exited traveling around the ceramic sapi plating, before exiting the bottom of his Kevlar flak jacket. 

                         Here is the finished mixed media side by side pieces of "And We Prayed".

In my limited palette of colors I used Qinacridone Azo Gold, Interference Gold, Phatlo Green, Payne's Grey, Iridescent White and Silver in Acrylic paint.  Other mediums of acrylics are Miceacious Iron Oxide used in the camouflage screen to provide tooth for the PanPastel  and Molding paste put on by palette knife to give texture for the hair.  Oil bars were used and pastels were laid on top to give the gritty effect to the hands.  Metal leafing was gilded into the hair and parts of the clothing.  I collage handmade papers into the darkest shadows of clothing.
I did not take a lot of processes on the painting because part of it looked awful to me.  I had taken a mixed media drawing seminar and wanted to add some of that to my piece that did not turn out the way I wanted because I went off my palette colors.  I fixed it and it became better than expected. 

Just a touch on the series progression to the public.  On July 4th I showed 7 of my paintings in this series at the Syracuse Chiefs baseball game.  Many people saw the series and heard the stories behind them for the first time.  My prints were done by Joe Minneily Studio's and two prints sold.  The Wounded Warriors Project will receive 10% of my sales.  There is much to do concerning the series and the traveling it will do.  More on that later.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Time to Get Going!"

Forest has deployed to Afghanistan again for his second tour.  So many are praying for them. 

After stopping by The National Museum of the Marines and the Smithsonian in Washington DC on the way home, now it is time to give an update on what is happening with my paintings.  They are going to debute at the Syracuse Cheif's game with 6 of my paintings on July 4th, with fireworks to follow!  There are other plans (not written in stone yet, just in works)  in the works at Leymoyne College, Veterans day Homecoming parade for the 174th at the NY State Fairgrounds in the Center of Progress Building's Expo, working on the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and not to mention the Smithonian Museum in Washington DC have asked me not to forget them. 
 It was my job to bring Forest's car home.  Isn't she a pretty thing!

Oh my.  That just got very complicated, but very exciting.  I want so much to tell their story.  That is what I prayed for when I first started.  The peices I have done is about what our military and their families go through.  We see our sons and daughters and are very proud of them and what they do.  As parents we pray unseasingly for their safety. 

Keep watching.  I will be updating the on more paintings very soon.  I just got back from seeing him off and I am adding in taking care of his personal affects during deployment to my things to do list along with my paintings.  "Plate spinners" star performer is about to begin!  More later.  For now I am going to bed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"An Update: Tribute to a Very Brave Little Hero"

Weiner Wolfe got close to every man in the 3/6 Battalion.  I received most unpleasant news that Weiner Wolfe encountered a large dog and lost the fight that ensued between them about two weeks ago.  Marjah does not have veterinarians out there; her wounds were too severe.  The guys who replaced Forest's unit took on Weiner Wolfe on their outpost  and had to make the decision to put her down.  She was a brave dog and she will be remembered by all she touched. 

The block prints were sent out to the guys upon returning from desert training out West.  Any one of you in the 3/6, if you didn't get a print and want one, let me know either here, message me or let my son Forest know and I will get one to you. 

I found this and posted it on my facebook wall. Thought I would share it here too.  Just click twice on the link    God & Dog
Rest In Peace Weiner Wolfe.  A nice tribute to a little hero who made life bearable in a very difficult place for our heroes in the 3/6. 

Later tonight I found some of the parents had posted their own tributes to Weiner Wolfe.  Here are some more pictures and one video from Jeff Gray that seems not to want to upload, so I will try later.

Weiner Wolfe always a rather dirty wet but welcomed friend

A snoozing Weiner Wolfe
What a nose!  She was a good girl
A Very Young Weiner Wolfe
By the way, does anybody know if she got a cookie the day the original photo was taken of Weiner Wolfe?