Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Small Christmas Gift

Here's a link to an online catalogue of our combat art exhibit at the Navy Museum. I hope you enjoy it, and may all of you have a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Go to War, Do Art

Photo courtesy of Rob Curtis

This is the sketch I was working on when Military Times photographer Rob Curtis took the photos of me at the beginning of the video clip. Military Times has published this week an article about combat art.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beyond Words

This afternoon my girlfriend, a Sergeant First Class in the Virginia National Guard, called me to see something on the TV. Janis served an 18 month tour in Iraq. She had over 600 missions outside the wire with a civil affairs unit. Just outside the Green Zone in January of 2004, her vehicle was IED'd. Her interpreter Nahla, sitting behind her, died. The back of her head had been blown off. They were on the way to the Baghdad International Airport to pick up Nahla's fiance, an Army Lt. Colonel. Janis didn't cry that day. She was too busy calling in a medevac and securing the blast site.

Today she had tears in her eyes. Here's why......


......whether you say oorah, or hooah, we, the veterans of the GWOT, share a common bond few others will ever understand.

A new administration is coming to the White House with hopes of making history. We who've made history wish them well. We pray that our sacrifices and successes will not be forgotten. We, for our part, can not and will not.

...and yes, I teared up too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Article in Leatherneck

There's an article about Sergeant Kris Battles and myself in the November issue of Leatherneck magazine. We're on pages 66-68. I also created the cover art.
This past weekend I traveled to New York City and had a wonderful evening with two civilian combat artists, Steve Mumford and Richard Johnson. Together we are the forming committee for a proposed International Society of War Artists.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joshua Mooi....An American Hero

Joshua Mooi
Old Ubaydi Battlefield, November 16, 2005 Operation Steel Curtain. The damaged building to the right (just left of the small plume of smoke) is the sight of the "death house".

On November 16, 2005 then Lance Corporal Joshua Mooi, without thought of his own personal safety, dragged under fire many of the wounded members of his platoon out from a "death house" in Old Ubaydi, Iraq. During his rescue missions Mooi's rifle was rendered useless after taking three AK-47 rounds. In this firefight between 2nd Platoon, Fox Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment and insurgents 5 Marines gave their lives and 11 were severely wounded. The platoon commander, 2nd Lt. McGlothlin was KIA, the platoon sergeant, SSgt. Homer was severely injured by grenade fragments and virtually all their Navy Corpsman were wounded.

Today Joshua was gracious enough to phone and let me know that he has been officially notified that his heroic actions are being recognized with the Navy Cross, which is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Semper Fi Joshua......job well done!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It Begins...........

Alfred Waud sketching at the Battle of Gettysburg-1863

The number of working war artists is small. Thanks in large part to the connectivity of the Internet we've been able to meet each other. As a result of this widening circle of associations we've decided to create an organization, The International Society of War Artists. Our plank holders include those sponsored officially by the military, individuals working for newspapers, independents, and former war artists. What we each have in common is an intense devotion to casting the artistic eye upon people and places during times of war. All of us have spent significant amounts of time in harm's way sharing the common lot of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and civilians. We trace our origins to Fransico de Goya, Winslow Homer and David Douglas Duncan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New and Improved

Here's new and improved version of watercolor I did while out in the field last month. It's slated to be the front cover art for a magazine this November. This image tries to capture a group of Marines at first light sorting their gear, saddling up and getting into formation.

Tomorrow evening the Navy Museum will be hosting a formal opening of a joint Navy and Marine Corps combat art exhibit. The Navy Museum will have a slide show of the art available on-line shortly.....so stay tuned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mojave Viper: Two Weeks at the Gates to Hades

Trying to stay cool during the hottest part of the hottest day of the hottest month in the hottest place on earth
Sergeant Kris Battles hard at work
Mortar gun crew under cammie netting preparing for a gun shoot

81mm Mortar Platoon Marine saddled up for live fire training at Range Quackenbush
Weapons Company 2/25 Marine practices with remote control IED detection robot
Marines of Echo Company 2/25 do a dry run up Machine Gun Hill at Range 400

Portrait of Gunnery Sergeant Roger E. Hoke, Jr. Just prior to coming out to Mojave Viper he donated over a liter and a half of bone marrow to his brother. Read about it here.

For two weeks, from August 3 until the 17th, Sergeant Kris Battles and I participated in a training evolution called Mojave Viper. Mojave Viper is a series of demanding live fire exercises in the brutal desert conditions of the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, California. We were invited to cover the training of 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment (2/25). 2/25 is a Marine Reserve unit preparing for a deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The unforgiving August heat and rugged terrain of The Stumps is the perfect place to do this.

Sergeant Battles and I covered the departure ceremony of the battalion's Gulf Company this past May. At Mojave Viper we were afforded the chance to cover their Weapons, H&S, Fox and Echo Companies. The overwhelming majority of Reserve Marines in this battalion are from the Northeastern States of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Coming from Pennsylvania myself I found I had alot in common with these guys.

The heat exceeded 100 degrees everyday. 106 degrees in the shade was the mid-day norm. I wore the new Modular Tactical Vest. The MTV has gotten mixed reviews. For my part I can tell you it's heavy and when buttoned up sizziling in 120 plus degrees for hours in the back of an amphibious assualt vehicle with 20 other Marines it will suck every molecule of H2O out of you. You can see the Gates of Hades just a few feet away without a problem.

The battalion's Public Affairs Officer was kind enough to write and article about us. Check it out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Two Down

High Noon Raid, Iraq
Between Sunset and Moonrise, Wazir Pass, Afghanistan

I finished two paintings today. Both are oil paint on gessoed watercolor paper. This particular method was championed by the great American illustrator, Maxfield Parrish.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day of Departure

In addition to visiting with the artist Joe Kubert Tuesday Sergeant Battles and I covered the mobilization and departure ceremony of Gulf Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. The Reserve Marines of G/2/25 departed their homebase at Picatinny Arsenal for the Marine Corps base at 29 Palms, California. At 29 Palms they'll train for about 4 months before going to Iraq.

The festivities for the Gulf Company Marines and their loved ones started at 0600. The Marine Corps League had coffee and donuts waiting for the hundreds of friends and relatives who showed up in a light rain to send their Marines off.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Day With Joe Kubert

Myself with DC comic book artist and creator of Sergeant Rock, Joe Kubert

I had the great honor yesterday of meeting one of the greatest influences on my art. As a kid I loved DC comic's Sergeant Rock. Hours of time and reams of paper were used up trying to copy Rock and the men of Easy Company. The creator of Sgt. Rock is Joe Kubert and yesterday Sergeant Battles and I got to visit with him at his art school in Dover, New Jersey.

The gritty quality of the Sergeant Rock tales combined with Kubert's virtuoso draftsmanship and expressive inking left a deep mark on my artistic sensibilities. No one in the comic book universe can even approach the intensity of Kubert's faces.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gloam and Gloom

Now that the sculpture I worked on for months is at the foundry I've been able to start a new three-dimensional piece and pick up on several paintings. The new sculpture is a composite of experiences of both wounded and killed-in-action Marines. More than once I've seen Marines gently cradling the head of a buddy as a corpsman works feverishly. I also share with you a painting of two leathernecks setting in for the night just after sunset under a rising moon surrounded by the beautiful hills and fields of eastern Afghanistan.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

On to the Foundry

Gulf 240 Machine Gunner sculpture prepped for transportation to foundry.

My latest sculpture is now at the foundry getting readied for casting. It stands 25" high. Although it's hard to make out, the base of the work has etched along each of the four edges the names of major locations in Iraq where Marines have served. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is planning an initial "artist's proof" series of six.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sculpture Update

This sculpture is 99% done! Whew! It has been an intense creative exercise figuring out how to shape and render a variety of materials, from skin and sinew to metal and cloth. I literally shaped every single round and link in the bandolier of ammunition as well as virtually all the muscles under the uniform. I can see why some sculptors stick to portrait busts.......it's soooo much simpler.
There's a couple of smaller details I'd like to point out. This is a M240 "Gulf" Marine Machine Gunner. These guys like to tuck a paint brush into the MOLLE attachment loops on the front of their Interceptor vests for weapons cleaning. The "D" ring to the right of the brush is for hanging his helmet from during a battle lull. There are two pouches for pistol magazines. One of the pouches is empty....it's mag is in the machine gunner's 9mm Beretta located in his "drop" holster. The pistol and holster are under his blouse. On his 3 day assault pack is strapped a poncho liner. Poncho liners are light weight quilted blankets that stand in for a sleeping bag while in battle. I made one of his trouser cargo pockets very full.....Marines tend to pack these large pockets with food for quick access during combat and it weighs the trouser leg down. Laced into his left boot is an extra dog tag and around his feet are spent shell casings. Finally, his trouser legs are "bloused" very low on his combat boots reflecting the constant shoot and scoot atmosphere of combat...he just doesn't have either the time or inclination to worry about how squared away he is.

Next week I'll be taking it very gingerly to the Wegner Foundry here in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In the News

My local newspaper, the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, published an article this Sunday about myself and Sergeant Kris Battle. Check it out. I'm sorry that I haven't published much of late. Sergeant Battles and I have been busy in our studio and actively preparing for our next trip overseas........to Afghanistan to cover the upcoming deployments of the 24th Marine Expeditonary Unit and the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment.
Also, here's a picture of the current state of the sculpture I'm actively working on.