Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back from Haiti!

"Point, Counter Point" At the wall at LZ Argonaut in Carrefour, Haiti

I arrived back "in CONUS" late last night, after two weeks Haiti deployed to Operation Unified Response.

We took a helicopter from the USS Bataan off the coast of Haiti, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where after two days of changing schedules and last-minute cancelled flights, we finally got a plane to Baltimore.

(More to come on the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the colors of Haiti-- and the Marines who were sent to help her...)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Heading to Haiti

I've got travel orders to Haiti today with the Marine Corps History Division, to document the activities of the Marine Corps as it continues to offer assistance to the people of that earthquake-ravaged nation.

I am taking my camera, as well as my sketchbooks & pencils, watercolors & brushes, to give a feeling for what's going on there.

I used to live in Haiti, as a missionary for two years, and I learned the language well enough to be an interpretor and a teacher while I was there. I hope that comes in handy as we travel around and interact with the people.

I will let you know how it goes, and will continue to post, if I'm able.

Semper Fi.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Hands-On Sculpture

I've been busy on other projects lately (pics to come), but thought I'd give an update on the sculpture I've been crafting which will depict Marines in Belleau Wood.

I've been forming the hands, as you know, using wax and wire, and have developed them further, so that they are beginning to be able to hold the rifles...

Starting with hands made using a basic template
Molding the fingers and giving gentle curve to the hands, to begin a grasping shape...
The trigger finger becoming more developed...

Fitting the hand to the stock

Left hand soon to hold the weapon!

Soon, I'll refine the hands-- fleshing out the fingers and defining the knuckles & joints. Once the hand postures are definite and properly matched to the figures, I'll join them solidly to the rifles. After that they'll be cast with the rifles as one piece, and then welded on to the bronze figures, which will be cast separately.

Fix Bayonets!

I also began the Model 1905 bayonets, having traced one out on a piece of basswood, from a template I made to 1/4 scale:

template with dimensions
If the basswood carving doesn't prove to be strong enough (the blade will only be 1/16 " thick), I was shown a way to actually shape the bayonet out of a piece of brass, using a high-speed sander(!).  I can't wait to find out-- either method promises to be interesting. I'll take a stab at it, regardless...

I fancy myself on the cutting edge of bayonet sculpting...

Happy Birthday, Norman Rockwell

Today's the birthday of Norman Rockwell, born the 3rd of February, 1894 (died 1978).

Regardless of one's opinion of his status in the art world or his place in art history (or the vain arguments about the differences between illustrator and fine artist), Rockwell is widely seen as one of the most talented and well-known image makers in American history.

Homecoming Marine by Rockwell, 1945 (I met the man who posed for this painting in Dec 2008 at the Museum)...

So, my hat (or as a Marine should say, my cover) is off to him...

Here is an interesting photo I found today while reading a book by and about one of our WWII combat artists, and currently one of the best Western Sculptors around, Harry Jackson.

Harry was on Tarawa and Saipan, wounded in both actions, before being selected as an official combat artist in 1944. After the war he was friends with Jackson Pollock and several others in the Abstract Expressionist movement, painting in similar manner, before moving out west and pursuing a more representational style.  

This photo depicts Norman Rockwell and Harry Jackson chatting in Harry's studio in California in 1945, no doubt the topic of discussion is Harry's combat art... (Rockwell himself was an official artist in the Navy in WWI, but never saw action).

I'm sure Harry is thinking here, "Man, this is the best job in the Corps"-- a sentiment with which I heartily agree...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Haiti's on my mind lately, and I hope I can get orders to go help out along with the Marines that are deploying...

Here are some images I made in the past, from my time living as a missionary in Haiti several years ago:

A sketch I did of old man who used to sit outside the mission on the side of the road and beg (he was poorest among the poor)
A drawing in India ink wash I made from photos I took while on a trip up north of Gonaives (most of the houses are mud and thatch out in the provinces...)

Groundhog Day

In honor of this 2nd day of February, which is customarily called Groundhog Day I felt I should post this drawing I did last year, which is a logo for the History Division's Marine Corps University Press. (HD used to have their offices in a trailer-- or rather a building composed of several trailer segments, under and around which dwelt many ground hogs--thus becoming the mascot in their logo.

By the way, what is his prognosis for this year's winter...? Did he see his shadow or not? (It's like that "Fall Forward Spring Back thing, I never can figure it out... oh I mean of course Spring Forward Fall Back....)