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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To Honor Restrepo

   Many years ago I had enlisted in the US Army (1985) to eventually become a combat artist. Well, that never came to pass and I do thank God at times that I did not. But, sometimes it does nip at me that I didn't.
   So I have chipped away at the edges producing artwork for persons who have been in service using snap shots and such. I can live vicariously through those photos because I can understand what is happening in those images because of the time I DID spend in uniform. Granted, I served during peace time so nothing much happened, but I can empathize with them.
   Not long ago I ran across a Documentary about a unit stationed in Afganistan. It was titled "Restrepo". It is the name of a FOB(Forward Operating Base) in the mountains. The Base was named for the first soldier that died there where the base was later built. As I watched I was able to identify with them and their sometimes boring and other times frantic life the year they spent there.

   Watching them do their job and slowly build up their mountain top home reminded me of all the times I went to the field and we all did what we could to make our tiny corner of the world we lived in as personal as possible. Every serviceman I have ever met has done the same. We were placed in some pretty inhospitable places and we took to the job at hand with gusto, because it meant we stood a chance of getting out of those hell holes if we did. However, at the same time, going through those hard times meant we needed, even in that hell hole, some place to try to be normal - to unwind. 

   It did not always work, but we tried just the same. As I watched this movie I laughed at their stupid and sometimes extremely vulgar jokes. The tension was there and it took extremes sometimes break from the tension of their jobs. When they went on patrols I grew anxious as they watched every movement for miles around trying to anticipate all the enemies moves. And when a fire fight broke out my heart raced with theirs as the boring, constant training kicked in and they fought back with TOTAL commitment to ending the fight as quickly as it started. 

   As I watched all this I realized I needed to recreate several of the scenes to honor the Veterans that have been fighting this war on terror now going on 18 years with no end in sight yet. Many of these men and woman have been injured and not not just physically. We will have the emotional scars of this fight to deal with for many years to come. These are just 3 of the several images I will be creating from this movie.

Friday, October 27, 2017

BB 35 More on this Behemoth

   So - as promised here are a couple more images I recently created of the inside of the Battleship Texas. I am re-posting a piece I drew a few months ago of the ship in dock as it is right now. The current restoration work is supposed to be finished in Jan. of 2018. What made these types of battle ships stand out were their Waist Guns. Above you can barely make out the rounded armor ports just below the top edge of the ship. They were on individual swivel mounts, not turrets. The Turrets were the big guns on the top of the deck.

From the blueprints I can see a total of 9 of these on each side of the ship. At full combat that must have been very noisy and smoky since those wide open ports would allow the blow back into the deck. Would have loved those wood floors in my home though LOL.

   About halfway up the superstructure is the Bridge. In comparison to other Battleships this one is tiny. Now from this view you can't see the back of the Bridge with the large plotting table. Again you can barely make out the spot on the first drawing where this Bridge is. Hint, look for the round port holes.

BB 35 - One of the oldest Battleships still in existence

  So - to indulge my fascination with things full of detail and old and of the military I have started a series of interior illustrations of the Battleship Texas. Its Keel was laid in 1910 - so it is older then the Titanic. It is the last existing Dreadnaught class American Battleships and it fought in 3 wars - WW1, WW2 and Korea. It also has the distinction of being one of the first Navy ships decommissioned to be a museum.
   I have picked this ship - not because of all that said above, but because I have been on that ship. It is fascinating ship to tour. Definately built for the human stature of that time period(shorter then me lol). Yet it is still massive. The one time that I toured it I was on a time crunch so I kind of ran through it and did not get a chance to really see it all. But, even what I did see was a wonder.
   For this series I wanted to show you here the process I go through to bring theses images to life. Well, at least the last 3 steps since I did not think to scan it in during the first two steps. So, to recap it - I chose the image to work on then did a pencil sketch of it with as much detail as I can get it. This starts with the general shapes to fit all the elements in in the correct locations and perspective. The next step is to go over the entire drawing with my smallest pen tip (005) and then erase all the pencil work. The next step you can see here below. It is the Ink wash stage. I go over the entire image with two shades of ink wash - medium and dark. I lay it in several layers to create dimension.
   After I am satisfied with this step I move to the water color pencils and lay down the color. This is also done in several layers to mix the colors up a bit to match the actual scene.

   The final stage is going back over the entire image with the pen (same one) to build up the texture and add more dimension. after that I use a white pen to outline some foreground objects   and to add some highlights to it.

    One final little step was I went over the image with a few colored pencils (not water color) to touch up the colors. I will be sharing the other images I have shortly

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Whole World Mobilizing

   As promised I had mentioned the 4 page spread article that I was doing a big amount of work for the Salvation Army in the magazine "SA Connects". Well, here it is in full - greatfully - some of the artwork I already had - I just sold it to them but there was a good deal of other bits and pieces I had to create to add to this finished work. Would love to see that as an actual game board - but that is an other deal.

   So - had to create new work to get this piece finished - only 5 of the images on this board were already done. There were 11 other images that I created for this work. See if you can find them. the only hint I will give you is that the buildings and cars I DID NOT do.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Another 100 yr old house.

   Well, I had to blitz on this one. This is the Oliver Culver house here in Rochester. Really, a beautiful one with tons of character and charm - not to mention lots of detail. It is the latest Architectural rendition illustration for the Landmark Society of Western NY. It is for a magazine they put out every month.

     I say I had to blitz on this one because I had another building they had asked me to draw (a post office), but mid month last month they changed it to this home. That alone would not have been a problem but I had a couple other pans in the fire - so to speak - and then Juli and I went on a long weekend to my hometown Ithaca. In doing so I lost track of the time and when I returned home I got an email asking if the artwork would be done on July 10th. I got that email on July 10th.  I scrambled off an email back and was told at the latest I could get it to them by the 25th. So I dived right in.

   Now, I quickly got the pencil line work done then inked over the lines the started laying water color down with in two days time. I took the 3rd day to go over it all with colored pencil and retouch some of the ink. so, in the end I got it emailed off to them with an invoice by the 15th(one day later) and they were very pleased. The original is 9" W x 6 5/8" tall. I was surprised by how quickly this one came together. I am getting proficient in this style of artwork so it is getting easier to do them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Whole World Mobilizing

   Attention - Attention - raise those cellphones in flashlight mode for a big reveal!. Coming soon to the SA Connects magazine - a large spread with my work all over it. The image above will be one of the images in it but, until it comes out in about two weeks I can't reveal any more. The Title of this post will give it away - so look for that piece to come out. It is a collaboration between me and the people of the Salvation Factory. With their editorial and graphics abilities and my artwork we have created a beautiful piece for that magazine.
   It was a short notice commission and after a week of nonstop work I am wiped out - however the results show for themselves. What made it more time consuming was working with less then top notch equipment for the digital side of things. Sometimes painting pixel by pixel to get what needed done. All in all though I am happy with the end product.