Here is a watercolor sketch I did when I was in Afghanistan, depicting Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment moving up to the LZ at FOB Dwyer to kick off Operation River Liberty (see yesterday's post for video and photos...).
The dust kicked up by this large column of Marines made me think of ancient Greek phalanxes marching in Persia, or of Napoleonic formations positioning on some battlefield. It was a timeless image in that way.
That is the silver thread that connects combat artists depicting war throughout the centuries, with those who practise war. The timeless nature of war as human experience, and the need for humans to express themselves and make a mark on history, has formed a profound and lasting connection between art and war, creation and destruction. It is a bond which will last until Image and Sword are drawn no more.
Note: I am planning to execute a larger oil painting with similar composition and layout, which will be partially inspired by John Singer Sargent's oil painting, Gassed, in the Imperial War Museum in London.
The glowing yellows, pinks and lavenders (as well as the umbers and ochres) are the same today in Afghanistan as Sargent depicted them on the Western Front in 1918.