The Army was the first of the five paintings to take shape, and reflected here the beginnings, if you will, of how five paintings ultimately took shape. For a detailed description to accompany the final painting, see the Artist’s Notes.
The color study was chosen early on to give viewers a basic idea of what the large paintings will look like. In comparison to the black and white sketch, the color study depicts some of the compositional changes that occur until a final composition was solidified. The storyline is replete with images of many people, which have been drawn from photographs, sketches or paintings, which helps get the imagery down. In ramping up for the actual paintings, live models were used in my studio, adding a more “interactive” pose and bringing the imagery to life in paying tribute to the men and women of the military and their contributions to freedom and democracy. As you scroll through these initial sketches, you’ll see how the first 8 X 10 foot painting unfolded, in this case the one for the Army.
PORTRAIT OF GORDON GERLING (former State Representative from Little Falls, MN)
Gordon was the first person who approached me in fall 2008 to discuss the possibility of painting a memorial piece honoring the men and women of the military. He talked much about Thomas Paine who wrote Common Sense. Published in 1776, Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. Since my approach to these paintings is allegorical in nature, essentially storytelling, it is possible to have a 21st Century person/Gordon Gerling conversing with Thomas Paine who is doubling as a Lt. Colonel in the Continental Army.
STUDIES FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR FIGURE
This is a 12″ X 16″ study which demonstrated how, when the images began to get larger in size how the detail became more vivid. The background images come from real places, in this case on the right side depicting a tree with an eagle’s nest which I watched all summer and still keep an eye on.
The first woman to be compensated by the U.S. Government for her service to the military.
STUDIES FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR CANNON TEAM
Soldiers wearing Continental Army uniforms. Click an image to enlarge.
Soldiers wearing local militia uniforms. Click an image to enlarge.
WAR OF 1812
Figure and Portrait: The first Minnesota played a major role at Gettysburg.
Study of a soldier from the Minnesota Militia (Red and Black).
Study of a woman spy.
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR
Nurse tearing gauze for bandages.
Holding operating instruments used in the field.
Portrait of soldier (work in progress).
Portrait of soldier.
Paying homage to returning dead.
DESERT STORM FIGURE
Preliminary drawing, with studies for equipment next up.
This project was done with an eye on the very real, painful and serious issues that plague many Veterans upon their return, including drug and alcohol abuse and homelessness. The imagery in this case begs the question: “Are we turning our back on this person…or he on us?”