Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bringing in the New Year, Enshalah!

*click on image to enlarge

Happy New Year to one and all! A couple of insurgents did their level best to help us bring in the New Year last evening by launching a salvo of rockets at the base. Nary a scratch was suffered by anyone here on the receiving end of this small bit of indirect fire. Enshalah!

Here is a sketch of a light armored reconnaissance Marine "taking a knee" on a patrol in one of the dusty villages spotting the hills above Hit, Iraq. The lion's share of time outside the wire is spent in keen observation. In this drawing I wanted to focus on the one intensely vigilant eye of this Marine peering out from under his helmet. The building he leans up against is typical of western Iraq; stones loosely stacked with minimal mortar followed with a secondary application of rough haphazard stucco. One is always aware, especially here in Al Anbar Province, of the thin veil between the natural and the man made. The Iraqis seem to favor welded metal grillwork set into the walls as windows, with or without the benefit of glass. Most towns and villages have several very busy metal working shops cranking out a variety of door, gate and window treatments. The metal workers often use little more than a piece of cardboard to marginally protect their eyes from the flash of electric arch welders. There is also a proliferation of satellite dishes on even the poorest of homes. Out from the cool shadowy interiors you hear the locals watching everything from Islamic religious shows, to "The Simpsons" and "Everybody Loves Raymond". They have a multitude of channels featuring elaborate MTV style music videos performed by popular Arabic singers, both male and female. Many of these videos feature fashions and scenerios that fly in the face of any notion that Muslims are not great romantics.


V. Schroeder said...

Happy New Year, from La Crecenta, California! Thanks for your posts and your amazing artwork.
V. Schroeder

Samantha West said...

Hello My Soulful, Artistic Marine,

Your extraordinary work always make me tear up and so I must put a link to your site on my little blog.

Now then, do you believe the Iraqi's are mimicking romance or have you glimpsed it living somewhere deeply hidden in their hearts?


Maggie45 said...

Happy New Year to you also, Michael, and to all the guys there. I'm so grateful for you all. And for your incredible drawings. Will the Corps allow you to do a book, or do all your drawings belong to them? I'll be the first in line to buy a copy, believe me! You're covering a war, but when I sit and look at any of your drawings, I feel peace. Thank you.

Beth* A. said...

The character of Debra on 'Everybody loves Raymond' must give some of locals severe pause for thought. "What IS that woman complaining about all the time?"
(I can just about hear the puzzlement from here!) What also came to mind was that classic episode with the suitcase that neither she nor Raymond wanted to carry upstairs; that's gotta make them wonder about the definition of 'difficulties' in America!
From the way I understand the term, 'Enshallah' would just about make that episode understandable.
'If God wills it', the suitcase will end up upstairs. Or....(shrug)...not.

I can't even begin to GUESS what the reaction to'The Simpsons' might be!!!!! Hmmm.... :-)

Beth* A. said...

Now as to your sketch; quite unlike you, I can be very unobservant for a person with 20/20. I have an old friend who can spot a wedding ring at 50 paces, or whether a blouse has a slight smudge on it, but me, not so much. Unless someone points it out. So, it took more than a coupla minutes to pick up on the gleam in that one watchful eye. I can however appreciate subtlety, and well - you're good. A definite "less is more" thing is going on there.
I got caught up in the 'forest' of that insanely built (and I use the verb loosely) stonework and missed the 'tree'. Kind of a reversal of the norm, but.....;-) I just kept clicking between enlarging and back to normal, as it reminded me some of looking at an impressionist painting up close (a sea of dots - in your case shaded shapes and MWMWM squiggles - vs. a field of flowers when you gain some distance and perspective.) I still think being able to make things look real with mere pen/pencil and paper is downright miraculous. That has GOT to be a good, good feeling, often repeated.

Maggie mentioned the neat idea of a book of your work; does the MC do things like that for their Artist(s)? Hope so...

Carol said...

Congrats on finishing so high in the 2005 Milbloggies, Mike...I saw you finished 6th in the Top U.S. Marine Corps Milblogs - no small feat considering you got a late start last year..I predict you will be a major contender in 2006. The word on you and your captivating artwork is obviously OUT. Happy New Year and best wishes to you and all your brave comrades over there.
Kind thoughts flow to you,


mdfay said...

Quite a few people have asked me about the possiblity of a book in the future. You'll be happy to know that an editor from Barnes and Nobles has approached me about doing just that. As far as purchasing pieces...well, everything I produce over here belongs to the Marine Corps.

Samantha West said...


You know, it's just a thought, but maybe the Marines would allow the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to sell some of your drawings in limited editions to raise money for The National Museum of the Marine Corps and it's exhibits.


Anonymous said...

WO1 Fay,
I am just fascinated with your ability to bring the battlefield to our eyes with your beautiful work.
Thank you Thank you Thank you
Becky Van Hout