While doodling this sketch of the notable Jimmy Doolittle, I realized how little I actually know about him. Aside from leading the famous “Doolitte Raid” on Tokyo, I couldn’t tell you one thing (hey, I’m an artist not a history professor). Anyway, after a little Googling I came up with this list of things I didn’t know but found very interesting. Perhaps other readers will as well.
In 1922 he made the first flight to cross the continent in less than a day, or 21 hours, 19 minutes to be exact.
Earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writing his dissertation on the effects of wind velocity on flying characteristics at the age of 29.
Performed an aerobatic demonstration in Argentina with two broken ankles.
Alfred Waud was recognized as the best of the Civil War sketch artists who drew the war for the nation’s pictorial press. Waud could render a scene quickly and accurately, with an artist’s eye for composition and a reporter’s instinct for human interest. Read More.
On Veteran’s Day we do not honor armies, victories, dates, places or history lessons. We honor individuals. Certainly we honor their service, but that service started with a big and very personal decision. Without those decisions there would be no veterans. History books don’t adequately communicate the thoughts and emotions that surround such a decision. The decision is huge. At some point we all probably ask ourselves hypothetically, “Would I do that? Would I make a decision that might cost me my life in service to my country”? But few of us consider the question for real. For those who do, the decisions may not end with joining the military. A soldier must decide to stick with his commitment through everything: training, rough living, enemy fire, and even the specter of death.
Consider this soldier’s last written words.
“If ya’ll are reading this, then I am on my way to help do my part to ensure the future security of our great nation. I don’t take this charge lightly, or with a cavalier attitude, rather with a resolute heart and a clear conscience. I am strongly convinced that what we are doing is just and worthy of all that could be spent in the effort.”
Did you hear the decision behind the resolve? Those words might have been written by many soldiers from many periods in our history, but these particular words happen to be from Master Sergeant Kelly Hornbeck, Army Special Forces, and were in his last letter home from Iraq. In his case the “worthy effort” cost him everything, but that was a decision he had already made. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the thousands that have made a similar decision to serve, not knowing what it might cost them in the end.
One of my photos from the annual anniversary reenactment event at Kings Mountain National Battlefield in SC.
A good part of my childhood was spent pretending I was fighting imaginary battles from a horse. Broom sticks and later my bike served as trusty steeds. Fighting from a horse was cool to my young, idealistic mind, but for many colonial Americans, horses were a common-place necessity of everyday life. As a result, cavalry might have given Continental forces during the American Revolution an edge. It was difficult for the British to ship horses across the Atlantic, meaning their cavalry regiments were often forced to use stolen horses. For the Continentals and colonial militia, horses were more readily available. Fast strike tactics from horseback helped even the odds and commanders such as Francis Marion, “Light-Horse-Harry” Lee, and William Washington used them to good effect … now those guys were cool!
I did this drawing using a combination of pencil and wash pencil (a water soluble graphite pencil). I used photo reference from one of my reenactment photos taken earlier this year at a cavalry tactics demonstration.
For anyone truly following the war news from Iraq this isn’t really news. So what was the discussion? You guessed it. Almost no newspaper printed this story. Those that did buried the story. The great thing about blogs is the potential to balance the ridiculous press and its incessant habit of determining what news is important and unimportant. This story is important by any news standard. No matter your stance on the Iraq war or how you feel about Bush, this is encouraging news – for our troops if for no other reason. Read the article, its well worth it.
In this media saturated age its hard to imagine posters such as these having much affect on the populace at all let alone raising any sentiment or money for a war effort, but apparently they did. War posters proved their effectiveness in WWI so much that in 1942 Roosevelt created The Department of War Information specifically for the task of mobilizing the home front in support of WWII. Not the least of which was the creation of several posters. These are two of my favorites. The first, by Norman Rockwell, is apparently the only combat picture he ever painted. Aside from his incredible technique, I love 3 things in particular about it. First, the faceless soldier, symbolizing our military might rather than any individual. Secondly, the ammo belt that seems almost spent, expressing urgency. And thirdly, the torn fatigues and battle worn condition of a soldier thats obviously been in a hard fight. The second poster is just a great concept by Bernhard Perlin – WWII soldiers marching in review for Revolutionary troops, our nation’s original freedom fighters.
Enjoy these gems of days gone by and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
A tribute to the primitive backwoodsmen of the Carolinas and Georgia that often made up contingents of colonial militia in the southern revolutionary campaigns. A favorite artistic subject of mine.
I am training myself to use Corel Painter IX, this being a trial run on a full illustration. I did this mostly with digital watercolor brushes, adding highlights on a separate layer with digital oil pastels. I haven’t used Painter since version 5 years ago. At that time it seemed slow and clumsy. It is much improved and a more honest artist’s tool now with smoother more manageable brushes that accurately mimic natural media and paper grain. Closer integration with Photoshop style layers and the ability to save those layer in .psd format is huge.
Following up on my last post, I thought those of you who frequent this blog might enjoy a few pictures from this years anniversary event at Cowpens. Below are 4 of my favorites. It was cold (for South Carolina). You can see the horse’s breath in the cavalry shots.
One of my favorite Revolutionary War reenactment events takes place only about 40 miles from me. The actual battle took place on January 17, 1781. Fast forward 227 years later and the anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens will be held this weekend near Gaffney, SC. at The Cowpens National Battlefield. The Park is set in a nondescript, out of the way, rural landscape that most people wouldn’t look at twice or normally think about even once. But great things happened here that helped change the course of the war.
The reenactors that participate make for curious photographs and even more interesting art subjects. This drawing is intended to be the start of, what I hope will be, a fun and rewarding watercolor painting. Mountain and backwoods militiamen, such as this drawing portrays, played a key part in this colonial victory. The planned painting is based on one of my photographs. Another of my paintings is featured in my previous post on this event. Also below are a few pics from past events. I’m looking forward to getting a few more good pics this year.
66 years ago today, I had yet to be born. Pearl Harbor doesn’t quite seem real to people like me, that is until I look at pictures like this. Those survivors who were there are nearly gone. The rest of us must now remember in their place: December 7, 1941.
Excerpt from General Order Number 5 giving birth to the 101st Airborne Division on August 15, 1942.
Due to the nature of our armament, and the tactics in which we shall perfect ourselves, we shall be called upon to carry out operations of far-reaching military importance and we shall habitually go into action when the need is immediate and extreme.
The painting is finished I think. This is the last pass of oil glazes and I am satisfied for now. I should mention that I used a new product (new to me) that proved very interesting - Liquitex clear acrylic gesso. I gessoed over my acrylic underpainting with it and painted my oil glazes on that base. Pretty neat stuff. It was a bit hazier than I preferred and the tooth was like sandpaper. I’m thinking that in the future I can mix it with matte medium and thin it out more and see how that performs. Still, its a pretty cool product and I will definitely explore its uses in the future.
A few rounds of oil glazes later and this is the result. Generally I’m just trying to darken the mood and atmosphere and focus attention on the soldier’s face in a pool of light. I have more work to do on the background, modeling some smoke and tinting some other areas with glazes but its coming along. I’m trying to stay fairly monochromatic with brief interludes of color in select places.