Galleries · Historic Sites · oil painting · Productivity · Step-by-step

One Veteran to Another

I got a bit off track with posting, but the painting continues in the Williamsburg series.

So, in a nutshell, here are the progress shots (I didn’t take one every single day, but you can get the idea of the steps here: The photo I took from some distance away using a long lens of these two fellows chatting one cool Fall day. I knew from the get-go that the background was way too cluttered for what I wanted, which was a pretty clear focus on the two men talking.

So it got cropped and I worked through a variety of sketches, thumbnails really, to figure out my composition and focal points. Then I transferred the sketches onto a stretched canvas – 20×16 inches. I’ve been doing a lot of that size lately but it seems to be working pretty well with this series and in the long run should help keep framing costs down by having a bulk purchase.

I made some changes and made some emphatic lines with my charcoal. But used a pastel pencil for the initial drawing.

Blocked out the values for the most part using Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey.

Basic block in .

Starting to refine things…

Took another three days working every day (except two when I was teaching a Beginner’s Painting Class) to finish and I failed to be a good secretary of my work in progress. But here is the finished painting.

One Veteran to Another

I’m pretty happy with it. To me there is a lot going on in this painting and I was asked to make a statement about it, I’d point out the symbolism. While I don’t know for certain that the Williamsburg interpreter is, in fact, a Veteran, based on his age, he probably was and I can guess that he interprets as one who fought in the Revolutionary War and was perhaps wounded as he uses a cane. Pairing him with the modern day Veteran in a wheelchair, well, it is a story, a way to look back at all our Veterans in all the wars in which the U.S. has fought; it connects through the generations in ways that only Veterans can truly understand. Of course, the flags (even as a Colonial Williamsburg flag) has the red, white and blue. If you closely at the man in the wheelchair, his jacket is decorated in flag patches. The sash of the interpreter is another reflection of the white stripes of the flag. His coat is a faded red/maroon. The people in the background are seemingly oblivious, they are amorphous and vague and in the background. They cannot enter into this conversation between Veterans. Even the stairway to the right has meaning as it a barrier to those who were wounded and in this case, leads to no where. The sidewalk is brick in the photo, but I turned it into a sort of smashed up slate symbolizing the difficulty of the road ahead.

This one will be part of the Two-Artist Show at the Stewart Gallery on Main in Gloucester, VA opening on May 1st. Robert Carlson will join me in that show and the theme is the people and places of Colonial Williamsburg, but I don’t know for sure what the title will be. Hoping folks will put this show on their to-do list for this coming Spring.

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