Saturday, March 27, 2010

To Paint a Picture of a Country

What an experience.

While I was thrilled to be back in a country I grew to love when I was a missionary there (1999-2001), I was of course shocked and saddened by the new horrific state of the infrastructure of Haiti.

Dilapidation and lack of sanitation were normal parts of the nation before the earthquake of 12 January-- but to see whole buildings collapsed on every block of Carrefour and Port-au-Prince is something hard to describe, and emotionally beyond comprehension.

Yet the Haitian people are a strong and resolute people, and they were very similarly disposed in attitude as they were when I was there before in their normal devastating poverty...! I mean, on the outside they were almost back to normal a month beyond the quake-- though on the inside I'm sure they all have bigger demons to deal with now.

The Marines were there to provide security, and it seemed on the ground that they were very welcome.
If some had their way, according to what I heard there, they would've had us for longer!

Here are some of the sketches and watercolors I did while there:


Marines guard the BLT HQ compound in Carrefour, in a scene that normally would be on a brochure!
a sign on the beach where Marines were bivouaced...

Quick studies in ink, rapidly trying to record details  before people moved!

("It's heavy! Let's Go! Don't block the way! Don't stay there.. go now!")


"Rapid Fire" gesture drawings as people moved quickly at the Distribution Point...


A sketch of a UN soldier watching crowds gather across the street from Distribution Point in Carrefour.


7 comments:

DenaTollefson said...

Wonderful artwork! I really appreciate what you and the troops do.

Dena Tollefson

http://www.denatollefson.com
http://www.denatollefson.blogspot.com

Beverly said...

I'm so glad to see your work again, particularly from Haiti.

Do you have your blog linked to Facebook? I would love to share your work there, if you don't.

Chaplain J. Dewey said...

Great to see your images coming to life Sgt Battles, and it was great to meet you in Petite Goave. Many blessings this Easter week.

Storypainter said...

Thanks for sharing some of your on-site sketches. Your finished works are powerful, but as an artist, it's fascinating to see your rough sketches and visual note-taking, and compare them to the way I work. Good job and well done.

Kristopher Battles said...

Thanks, Chaplain Dewey! Hey, sir, I have some photos of you doing the baptism... did I ever get them to you before I left the area? If not, I'd like to email them to you... if I could get your email address...

Kristopher Battles said...

Storypainter,

Yeah, I agree about the sketches-- I like your phrase "visual note-taking", as it so describes what goes on with that kind of field sketching...

They are also my favorite thing to look at and enjoy as an artist-- when the sketches have an immediacy and economy of mark about them, they are a success.

kate said...

I agree with storypainter - the sketches and watercolors have an immediacy and resonance...they're incredibly lovely. Your work is not only beautiful but important. Thank you for all of it!