Friday, September 27, 2013

Final Stages of "Our Kids Meet Their Kids" - What My Paintings Teach Me

"Our Kids Meet Their Kids", is in its final stages.  And so many times my paintings teach me for they are not mere photos that come my way in which I just add paint and mimic the image.  America needs to know their heroes.  That is what this series is about in teaching the average American Citizen what our sons and daughters are doing, what its like to be in a war zone, brought their to serve.  They stand in the gap, protecting our peace and freedom to make a difference in this world.  So remember, not only a difference here in the USA, they also provide a protection for the new found to the freedom of the people of Afghanistan in this 13 year long war.  It is my hope "A Military Series - A Parent's Perspective" tells their stories.

Lcpl Michael Parris, USMC was on a local security patrol, had stopped with his his camera to mingle with the local children.  Part of that patrol, Cpl Chris Leonard, USMC took this shot.  As I have painted so many portraits, it the natural part of the artist in me that wants to fix anything that is not proportionate.  Notice the shoes on the child with his back to the camera.  I struggled with them because they are so big.  Why is he wearing such big shoes.  They live in the growing district in the Helmand Province, so most likely these are farmers children.  It is dusty and dirty out there, yet their shoes are so white?  Then it struck me, remember this is Afghanistan and these children live in such poverty that getting a new pair of shoes is no small feet - literally!  Many times our sons would write back asking for us to send along clothing for children.  Those shoes are now in true proportion.  They are three sizes too large and he may need to wear those for 2-3 years.  The children of Afghanistan have come to love meeting up with our Marines.  Our kids meet their kids with such fondness.  Many are reminded of their own sons and daughters, younger brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews back at home.  It sure is a pleasure to take time with these children.  Can't help but ponder how our kids have impacted their lives in a positive way.    

Many people ask me "How long does it take you to finish a painting?'.  My quick reply is approximately three weeks if I were to paint constantly without interruption.  The group paintings do take much longer approximately a year in the process, such a wonderful opportunity to learn and bring out their stories.  .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Artist at the NY State Fair and Traveling around in the Land of the Free, because of the Brave!

(A fellow artist, photographer Herm Card took the photo)
This summer has gone fast.  I ended off with the NY State Fair as a Artist in Residence with "Our Kids Meet Their Kids"  It was such an honor to be there on "Veterans Day at the Fair".  And yes, I did wear that "Hope 4 the Warriors Jersey that I earned.and I did complete all those sit ups (7,750 sit ups for the month of August).  

So what has been happening in the month of September?  The Art Store has kept me busy with Back to School, (we have a Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, Several other State and Private Colleges that converge on the store for supplies all at one time.

And now that has eased up I have been putting finishing touches on "Our Kids Meet Their Kids"  (more on that one in the next post) and traveling in NY.  Originally, I was going to travel back up to Saranac Lake and teach plein air painting like I had this summer.  But with the way peoples schedules are, I found myself with just a few students, so I cancelled.  Instead my Sister (sherpa for my artist's travels) Sue and I traveled to
Boldt Castle in the 1,000 Islands.  As children our family had visited what we considered ruins of a beautiful dream that ended too soon when Mr Boldt's wife died 2 months before it was to be lived in.  What a contrast at Heart Island today, to step into Boldt Castle and find much of it beautifully restored as if Mrs Boldt had been able to live there.  I took lots of photos of the Boldt Castle, the Power House, the Boat House, even a bride descending the steps of Ulster Castle (the children's playhouse) to her betrothed waiting below (met the groom on the boat traveling over).  And after Sue and I returned to Alex Bay I did some journal painting for future projects.   

I found in my travels a most welcoming reminder of the freedom we live in.  Our flag flies on top of Castles, in humble homes and proudly over Veterans Memorial Parks.  Simply freedom is not free and I recognize the sacrifices our sons and daughter make.  Thank you for your sacrifices my military family and Semper Fi