Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Upcoming Events with the Veteran's Parade and Expo, Bridge Street, New painting start and Go Vote!

Upcoming events for this week.  I will be on Bridgestreet, local Channel 9 WSYR at 10:00 am
This Saturday is the Veteran's Parade and Expo event at the New York State Fairgrounds and "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" will be there.  So Come on out Central New York.  This is the day to honor your heroes and hear their stories.  It is my goal to tell their stories to the teach the average American Citizen who have little idea what our military is experiecing and selflessly sacrificing.  They are our heroes who keep us safe and defend our freedom.

This is the underpainting called, "Guardians of Freedom" for the 3/6 Battalion's painting. 
Calligraphied into its flag will bear a quote from Andrew Jackson's Farewell Address in 1837. I fell in love with these words, written so long ago: "...Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number, and has chosen you, as the guardians of freedom, to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May he who holds in his hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors he has bestowed, and enable you, with pure hearts, and pure hands, and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge he has committed to your keeping..."

I have been scouring over just the right images for the last two years. The hand stretched canvas is 34"x 50". After those acrylic layers I will put in several different portraits of 3/6 Marines.

Much more to come on this one.
I just got back from casting my votes for this election.  Get out and vote!  I don't care who you vote for, but you need to get out and vote.  It is a right and a responsibility as a Citizen of the United States of America.  When you vote you bring honor to my military who chooses to stand in harms way right now to my veterans when you vote.  They are willing to follow the lead of our president that we elect today.  Show the world our government at its working best by voting. Our government is for the people and by the people, therefore we must act to make our country the great. Even though you may be unsure today, do your homework and choose the candidate that fits your ideals and goals for America.  Remember there is no absolute perfect candidate.  If you vote and the elected official is leaning in a direction you don't agree with, say something, write them, don't be afraid to speak your mind.  Be involved in the government process.  Just be sure to VOTE!  'nough said.

I will add on to this later today with the latest painting start of "Guardians of Freedom" for the 3/6 Battalion.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Painting and An Update on Forest

Okay, so there has been a lot going on this last month since getting back from the Modern Day Marine Expo.  Be watching because next week will be the Veteran's Parade and Expo at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY., November 10th.  On the 8th I will be on channel 9's local "Bridgestreet" at 10:00 am with Senator John DeFrancisco to talk about Saturday's event with the start of the parade at 9:30 am and the Expo event immediately following.  All of my paintings will be there.  Come out for a nice time and celebrate our Veterans!  

First of all, I'll update you all on Forest.  Where in the world has he and his battalion been this last month?  They have been training in the desert around Yuma, Arizona.  Now somehow this Marine Momma can handle hearing about the sand fleas and even camel spiders (about 6 inches in length) in Afghanistan.  But when I heard the Sargent drove his 7 ton onto their FOB (Forward Operating Base), he ran over 4 rattlesnakes, jumped out and shot 3 more.  He then proceeded to bark out, "You're all packin' yeur cots!  No one's diggin' in!"  When I heard that I internally fer-eeked!  Oh boy, the life of a Marine, thought about him all month.

 So little is known by the average American Citizen as to what our sons are doing on a day to day basis.  To see a child smile and be a child in a war torn country is a good thing.  There lives are marked by such difficult memories that we will never know.  So when I saw this photograph taken by Chris Leonard, I could see the story to be told.  Within this shot Micheal Parris and another Marine are entertaining Afghan children with a camera.  He had just taken a shot of the children near Nawa.  Part of the job our Marines have, is to stabilize the area and build relationships.  For this moment, Michael is having as much fun with them as he would with his own son.  I am sure that is what runs through his mind.  These kids have so little, yet the smiles and interest on their faces you see here, crosses language barriers and makes differences in this world.  Differences I pray is permantly embeded in their hearts and minds.

The square canvas has a recessed center.  I will be posting more as I go.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Embassy Duty Guards" Final and a Week at the Modern Day Marine Expo

"A Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective" is back home from a week with the Modern Day Marine Expo and there is a lot to share.  Each time I share their stories, my mission becomes better defined.  

Introducing the finished, "Embassy Duty Guards" with Cpl Cameron Gianetto, USMC Embassy Duty Guard in Cyro 2010-2011.  Cameron stands the fourth on the back row.  When Doug and Tina Jenk's showed the photograph that November at our Syracuse Marine Parent's meeting of their son,s platoon.  I was taken by the immensity and timeliness of these Marines standing on the Pyramids of Egypt.  The detail on the faces I purposely kept vague so viewing it should be at a distance away.  The milled stone work is etched by the sands of time.  These heroes were charged to protect and defend our embassy.  A short time after that photo was taken, a Facebook post appeared in February.   His dad wrote "Pray for Cameron".   As parents we responded immediately with our prayers, our most powerful weapon.  Within two days we heard a post from Cameron.  "We feel better.  We are out of our blues and into our utilities".  Prayers kept going.  Then another post.  "Well, the FAST team has surrounded the embassy.  We are back in our blues."  Prayers for our heroes were answered as we watched the news.  The Egyptian government changed.  
This week I had the honor to meet some of those Embassy Duty Guards that have served at the Ebassy in Cyro, Egypt.  This painting is the largest of the series at 48"x60" and took a 18 months to complete and was created for my heroes.  

This was also a week to teach and share my mission with my heroes.  And there were many that came by from enlisted to the Comandant of the Marine Corp.  I have many Veterans that well fit into my heroes present and past.  Also, I have heroes that may not have been on a battlefield but have made a difference too with the protection they provide by manufacturing technical equipment used everyday by our heroes.   

When Forest arrived home from 
that first deployment, he showed me the flack jacket that sustained a hit with that 7.62 ml bullet that struck his camel pack and traveled around the sapi plate and through and out his vest.  I will never for get that time.  At the Modern Day Marine Expo I took time to give a heart felt thank you to the vendors who had a part in manufacturing the flack jackets that saved my son's life.   Those jackets have saved so many.  God gives you talents and he intends you to use them.  Sometimes people may take for granted what a strong fiber like Kevlar can do, or what happens when you mix science with ceramics.  Even paint to canvas can be a very powerful mix by the stories a painting has to tell. 

Their story has become my mission to teach:

"A Military Series - A Parent’s Perspective” is for the American Citizen.  As a parent, I have one foot in the Military and the other in the civilian world in which there is a disconnect that needs to be bridged. The paintings in this series cross that bridge by teaching the average American Citizen what our heroes in the Military sacrifice daily to keep us free and protected. As much as they protect us we need to stand behind them, for their honorable purpose is to make a difference in this world.  

So many things have happened in these last few weeks. I was so blessed to be invited to the Modern Day Marine Expo. There were many events each day. See the Colors being presented? Notice the Marine Corp flag being presented forward. It has a very special detail of ribbons that not many civilians know its meaning. Each ribbon was added on to the flag to represent the war campains the Marines have been in since our country began from the Revolution, all the way forward to our present day war in Afghanistan. 
This Marine Corp flag is heavy and we all should be so proud of all they represent. The Marine on the Left was given a special award for his service. Just think of the brave men and women that have stepped up to serve and protect our nation through its history. I thank God to live here in the land of the free and protected by these brave men and women.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Week With My 2nd Marine Division's Veteran's and a General Too!

Just got back from the 2nd Marine Division's Association Reunion in Buffalo, NY in which I was able to share my paintings, "A Military  Series  - A Parent's Perspective"!  The subjects in my series are mostly based on the 2nd Marine Division, in which my son .  Lt Col David B. Brown, USMC, (Retired) is the Executive Director and Sgt Maj Joeseph L. Houle, U.S. Marine Corps and Meghan McMahon, Executive Assistant play major roles in the organization and they so graciously extended an invite to show my paintings and had my mom and I join in on the events at the convention.
That's my Mom- Beverly Schmelling

I have to share something that struck me, a civilian, so profoundly. The 2nd Marine Division traveled over to the Naval & Military Park in Buffalo. While we were there several Marines were recognized for their service in Korea. We had a catered dinner on the deck of the USS The Sullivans. I had heard the Marine Corp Hymn played many times over the years, but this time, it was very different standing amongst these men and their families on this ship. Time stood still as I observed the faces, the eyes of all those who served. At that moment of playing the Marine Corp Hymn, I started to realize the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli and all the battles fought were on their minds. As if they were transported back to that place and time each one served, I could see them remembering. It was a proud, purposeful, sad, sacred, deep and enduring looks that I observed. Just in case you have not heard me say it before, and you will hear me say it again, "Love my marines, all of them, no matter the age, they are my heroes!"

That moment brought out my admiration for that Marine Corp Hymn in a new and different way. I did not have a camera with me at the time. Through my tears, wish I could have captured that moment; perhaps another painting.

What a wonderful opportunity and experience to meet with Brigadier General Lori Reynolds, Commanding General, Eastern Recruiting Region Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, SC. She is truly an amazing woman and it was an honor to personally show her my paintings.
General Reynolds came in for the 2nd Marine Division's Reunion Banquet in which the food we enjoyed really good food and entertainment from the local Scottish Band and Irish Dancers. Thank you to the 2nd Marines, Love my Marines!  There is more to come.  In two weeks I will be on the move again with my series.  I will be traveling to The Modern Day Marine Expo at Quantico. The push is on to finish "Embassy Duty Guards", since those Marines are trained out of Quantico.  Remember the Giclee' Prints and card sets help fund and drive the ability for the paintings to be seen around the country.  Every bit of your support in this effort helps to tell their stories to all of America.  Click into my order page on the right of your screen.  For now, I am off to paint!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nearing the Finish of "Embassy Duty Guards"

Well, it has been a long time in coming for this oil painting.  "Embassy Duty Guards" is nearing completion.  One of my Syracuse Marine Parent's son Cameron is in this painting with his platoon.  When people see the painting, many times I will ask them, "Where do think they are standing?"  Usually the response is, "They're in Afghanistan"  which is probably drilled into their minds by now because anybody who knows me, also know that Forest is my son who has done 2 tours there.  Once they hear it is the Pyramids in Egypt, most will take a step back and back and say wow.  That was my first reaction to Cameron's photograph.  I wonder how hard it was getting all those Marines in their dress blues up on that pyramid - no small feat!  Between the rocks,  keeping the faces not as detailed and its shear size of 48"x60", this paintng has taken a good deal of time to complete.  Because Embassy Duty guards are training takes place at Quatico,  I will have it done just in time for the upcoming Modern Day Marine Expo in Quantico, VA in two weeks.

Like my other paintings, this one has its story too.  At the time November of 2010 this was taken in Egypt, it was that "calm before the storm.  In February of 2011 on my facebook page we saw a rather frantic parent asking everyone to "Pray for Cameron"  and we did.  2 days later another post came in from Cameron, "Got into our Camey's, we feel better now."  Then a few days later another post, "The FAST team has surrounded the embassy, so we are back in our dress blues".  I don't think he was too happy about getting back into those blues.  Forest told me they are hot and the neck is very stiff.  They used to be made of leather, that is why you may hear people call the Marines, Leathernecks.  They do look spectacular, but they are always happy to take off that blouse (Jacket).  As a Parent, these are anxious moments about our sons.  Prayer is the most powerful thing we do to combat the unkown concerning our sons and daughters in harms way.  All of the Syracuse Marine Parents started praying and God heard.  The Marines protected their embassy, the fast team did their job and all was well.  

Getting ready to go to the 2nd Marine Divisions 63rd Reunion at the Adam's Mark in Buffalo, NY for Thursday and Friday.  Looking forward to showing "My Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective"!  Those boxed card sets and prints drive the ability for the show to travel, so if you are interested in having a piece of artwork for your very own, go to my order page here on the blog to get the info on where to send the check or M.O.  Once I have a day, I will complete the shopping cart pages on my website, hopefully by October.  When I get back I will have the finish this painting - more to come!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boxed Card Sets and Front Covers of Quarterly Publication

Along with the prints that I have to sell, I am introducing a special edition of "A Military Experience - A Parent's Perspective" Boxed 12 Card Sets, featuring the four paintings selected as covers for the 2nd Marine Divisions "Follow Me" quarterly publications.  They are $20.00 for a set, shipping included (ordering info. below).
The first cover of "Follow Me" was the pastel "Daddy Don't Go" out last April-May-June 2012, which contains an interview with Dave Brown, Executive Director, Sgt Maj, USMC retired.  For July-August-September, the oil of Forest came out in "I'm Out Here, Did You Forget Me?".  Both issues have brief Cover Stories inside and advertisements for prints.  With the new quarterly magazine issues to come, there will be "Role Models" and "Homecoming Hug" with their stories to tell also.

"Role Models"
premiers Oct-Nov-Dec
Click on my contact page for email and address information either on my blog "Ordering Page or www.artisticimpressionsbyblair.com.
The website is not fully functional yet, so you will need to send a check or money order to Artistic Impressions.

Please consider purchasing cards or prints as this is the driving force to fund the traveling of these paintings around the country, so your support here is greatly needed and appreciated! 
"Homecoming Hug"
premiers Jan-Feb-March
I also am in need of a vehicle to get the paintings to thier upcoming destinations.  A sponsor (corporate or personal) that might help in procuring a Chrysler Town & Country or a Dodge Caravan minivan that can hold the series and their easels would make this traveling exhibition happen with ease.

More card sets yet to come of different prints.  If you are a  friend on my facebook pages please help vote for the next four prints.  (Kind of timely, so vote now if you can!)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Where To See the Series Being Presented

Updates first on where the paintings for "A military Experience - A Parentt's Perspective" have been and where they are going next.  On July 4th nine of the 21 paintings were on display with rheir stories at the Syracuse Cheif's game (they won!), along with my Syracuse Marine Parent's and the Gregory Harris Courtesy Room.  I was able to present thir stories through my paintings.  Currently, I am looking for a corporate sponsor to help this series move around the country.  The goal is to tell their stories to an American public around the country that does not know what our military is going through along with the families that stand behind them.  I was not part of a military family until my son Lcpl Forest Blair, USMC who was sworn in the day after he graduated high school and then went on to earn the tittle of United States Marine.  I am so proud of him and have been amazed at the character of every Marine I have met and come to know whether in passing or by painting.

America, you need to know these family members of mine.  I love them all and I think you should get to know them.  If you are reading this and would like to help either by purchasing a print or by sponsoring this endeavor, please contact me by email at www.artisticimpressionsbyblair@gmail.com.

The next venue for showing all 19 of the series' paintings will be July 19th at the following:

AmeriCU Fort Drum will be hosting a Business After Hours in conjunction with the Watertown Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, July 19th, 5PM-7PM at our AmeriCU location on Fort Drum. Please join us!

When: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 5PM-7PM
Where: AmeriCU Financial Center - 10750 Enduring Freedom Drive, Fort Drum
Catered by the Commons
Music & door prizes!
Featuring an exhibition of “Military Series – a Parent’s Perspective”.
Artist: Sharon A. Blair, http://artisticimpressionsbyblair.com/
Enter to win a grand prize giveaway - a gas grill!
Please contact Erin Ballard, ErinB@americu.org to RSVP by Monday, July 16th.

More posting to come later today.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Forest is now back from Jordan and has enjoyed his first celebration of our country's Independence Day parades and fireworks since 2008.  Happy Fourth Forest!

For me it was a celebration at the Syracuse Chief's Game to share their stories from my "A Military Series- A Parent's Perspective".  It is always a joy to show these paintings and is truly a labor of love for my 3/6 Battalion and Syracuse Marine Parent's son's.

Most importantly, my focus on this series is and always has been on my subjects.  You see, for me as an artist, the fame doesn't mean a thing to me.  Their sacrifice for this nation needs to hit the heart of every American and that is story I tell with a most grateful heart.  So my heart to yours America, here is the newest painting in process.  It is in honor to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Division at Camp Lejeurne, called "Guardians of Freedom"'s first layer.  (I will be posting the photo a little later tonight)

The Marines did good work over there in Jordan.  They had a couple days to tour ruins and the canyons of Petra.  What a wonderful opportunity to see the world for these men.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Month to Remember

May is an exciting month for military families.  It is time to honor them.  We tell America, we are here and for the citizens of this nation; you live in a freedom paid for at great cost.  Our sons and daughters willingly stand in harms way for you.  So just what have I been doing with my brush and those paintings?

On May 12th I started with "Armed Forces Day" at the Syracuse Chiefs Game (they were traveling on the actual May 19th celebration).  Nine of the paintings in my series traveled with me to their game (we won - of course!)  This was another opportunity to show these paintings and let people know their stories.
There was a special Honor and Remember Flag at the Opening
Ceremonies given to Rick and Lorie Schneider, our Gold Star Parent's
who lost their son Cpl Kyle Schneider, USMC last year while serving in
  Our Gold Star parents are working through this difficult year by starting a scholarship fund in his memory.  
My brush has not been idle.  I have been working at the North Syracuse VFW here in New York on an antique shuffle board.  The Veterans asked if I would paint their 5 of the Military Insignia's on the surface of the table.  Mayor Mark Atkinson had seen my military paintings that I had presented back in January to the North Syracuse Art Guild at the North Syracuse VFW.  He asked what I would charge and I told him this one is on me.  And of course, I learn through my experiences with unique challenges.  When I am at home, I can get lost in my work at my easel.  All those long hours spent in
one setting at home is vastly different when it comes to the open and available hours at the VFW (can't take that 30 foot shuffle board home with me to work on)  Sooooo, it took a long time to get that painted.  But today, on the eve of their Memorial Day Open House, I finished it!
Many many hours work.
 Though there are many that take these national holidays as another way to party, our Veterans at the VFW Post 7290 have raised their glasses in memory to all who have gone on before them.  We honor their service.

And just to go out and celebrate finishing, I treated myself to one of my favorite Memorial Day Events - The Vietnam Veteran's Watchfire in Central New York.  On this eve of Memorial Day, we take time to retire our flags that are torn and tattered.  The formal Watchfire Service honors all those that have given their lives in service to our country and to remember our military that are serving today around the world.

It was a hot one too.  As the fire consumed the flags and sent us back from the heat, Rick and Lorie launched a sky lantern (we all signed messages to Kyle) as a way to say, "Love you to the moon and back.  Goodnight Kyle".

Tomorrow is the Parade in North Syracuse and the VFW's Open House.

After that we go to cemeteries with my parents to our families own remembrance day.  We hear the stories of our eccentric Great Uncle Babe (he was independently wealthy from an earthworm farm) who carpeted his gardens to keep the weeds down and my Great, Great Grandpa who sold Snake Oil when he arrived here in the United States of America.

Now that I have worked through all this stuff stay tuned, in a couple of days I will have more news on the blog for my next two paintings and the next 2nd Marine Division's Magazine "Follow Me" covers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cover to the 2nd Marine Division's "Follow Me" National Magazine

The April, May, June issue to the 2nd Marine Divisions Periodical called "Follow Me" will have "Daddy Don't Go" on the cover along the story and an interview article by Lt Col David B. Brown, USMC (Ret.).  For all who are looking at my blog today, my website is up and almost running with a shopping cart page that is under construction.  Go to http://www.artisticimpressionsbyblair.com.

If you want to purchase a print for now you can email me at artisticimpressionsbyblair@gmail.com or call my home phone at 315-458-0846 (if not there please leave a message and I will get back to you so you can place an order).  Please include along with your contact information, the title and size of the giclee print you would like.  Thank you.

I will be writing more on this.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Final on "A Time For Peace"

And here it is!  "A Time For Peace" with Lcpl Forest Blair and his Rachel walking along Top Sail Beach the day after Homecoming from Afghanistan.  What a relief and special time this is.  The day was windy, the sun was so bright as Forest and Rachel walked along with our family's.  It all was so peaceful and even in January it was 60 degrees, enough for Rachel to take off her shoes and walk along the beach.  They have so much to say and so much to share.

Our Marines live life to the fullest.  When they are home from war, they transit from that foreign land with all its challenges to their family, the purpose for the protection they provide.  To you, the American citizen, you may not understand the price freedom, so selflessly fought for - costs.

While I was working on this at home, Forest is continuing his professional steps in the military.  I am very proud of this young marine.

The painting is an acrylic, utilizing fluid acrylics brought down to a watercolor state with many layers of washes.  There are acrylic mediums used from the Light Molding Paste base to the 4th gloss gel medium coat over the top and more Light Moulding Paste was knifed over stencils for the figures and reed in the foreground.  Several Interference colors were used to deepen the luminosity of of the waves under the surf and Large Mica flakes were sunk into the Course Pumas Gel in the sand beneath their feet.

As I traveled back and forth from work and home creating my painting, our shipper receiver kept telling me the painting needs more drama in it, like a shark.  When the boys were younger they used to see my landscapes and ask, "Where's the Sasquatch?"   I always entertained the idea of painting in a Sasquatch in some obscure shadow in the background.

Well, one day I walked into the art room to find...

You guessed it.  A Shark!  All I needed was a Jaws theme song running.  Yes Pat,  we laughed for days.  
The sharks were removed to protect the innocent.