The completion is truly near, and the studio will be a different place when the last painting is signed, then delivered to its permanent location in September. For now, there is much reflection. And gratitude to the men and women of the military who are serving their Country, have served, and those who will serve. It has been the honor of a lifetime to paint the stories of you.
The legend of Icarus and Daedalus has long stood as a metaphor for manned flight. Daedelus, imprisoned on the island of Crete for committing murder, had, while in captivity, fathered a son named Icarus. Eventually Daedalus and Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth, amazed that the Daedalus had designed to keep the Minotaur from devouring humans. Daedalus devised ways to escape from the labyrinth by fashioning wings from feathers and wax. After fixing the wings to Icarus’s back, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the ocean and not too near to the sun so the wings would not become wet nor would they melt from the sun’s heat. Icarus, young and full of life, was thrilled with the freedom the wings had provided him. he soared and looped and then flew too high where the sun melted the binding wax. he fell into the sea while Daedalus successfully escaped to Sicily.
Even though dreams of flying predate the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, the inherent element of technology and the thrill and danger of soaring above landlocked humans apparent in that tale still grips us today.
From the U.S. Air Force, A Complete History
The lower left corner is filling in, with so little time remaining on the Air Force painting. The date for completion nears–yet hard to pin down yet. People ask “when do you know you are done?”…and the answer remains, “it depends”. More to come….
Notes from the artist…as Memorial Day nears…
I pondered that I have accompanied a painting, or sketches therein, to each Memorial Day celebration at the Cemetery for the past 10 years. As the Monument nears completion, I realize that this will be the last one where only four of the paintings hang, because next year all five will be installed, and this project will be a part of my past.
I reflect that 10 years of my life have been spent in front of a very large canvas, telling visual stories of outstanding women and men of all branches, and I am near the end of the final one. I remain honored to be a part of this, to have women and men of all branches of service serve as the models, and share their stories with me during our time in the studio.
With the fundraising complete, I reflect on the tremendous commitment of the volunteer fundraising committee members who spent countless hours raising the money to get each and every painting paid for. To the donors who believed it would be done–the many individuals, service organizations and businesses both small and large, Veterans and Veterans organizations. Each day is a countdown to completion, celebration and a tinge of bittersweet.
But I still walk into my studio each day, canvas in front of me, paintbrush in hand, to finish the stories told to me, and capture the final ones. The final figure will begin to be painted in this week.
Memorial Day at the MN STATE VETERANS CEMETERY: SUNDAY MAY 26th–1:30
The detail you see in this particular snippet is a para rescue scene. Para rescue are the United States Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. The two models used include Major General (BVT) David Hamler, who actually participated in over 30 para rescue missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; the wounded soldier on the ground is friend of mine, Steve Shelley, whose father was in the Marines.
This provides an update about the Air Force painting, as of March 26th. The lower right hand corner is really taking shape with the flesh colors slowly being added to the main portraits. In addition the central figure commemorating the lady pilots of World War 2 shuttling aircraft from factory to military bases around the world has begun. Starting next week I will begin placing the 3 main figures on the lower left hand corner of the composition stay tuned for updated images.