Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bridgeport Blisters

Back in June, I had the privilege (and challenge!) of attending Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, California, where I drew, sketched and photographed my way around the area, covering the training of several of Reserve units, including 1/24, 1/25, and 3/23 during Javelin Thrust.

The two-week exercise took place at both Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, CA; and both Hawthorne Army Depot and Hilton Ranch in Nevada.

One event which will stick in my mind forever, was the "movement to contact" I did with members of 1st Bn 25th Marines in the mountains.

If you've ever humped in the mountains, you know what kind of challenge it can be-- a 4-klick movement to contact in the mountains really means 10 klicks by the time its done!

We finished the movement to contact, attacked the objective, and marched back to camp on the roads. I had an old, loose-fitting pair of boots, which began to give me pains after only a klick or two. By the end of the forced-march back home, which was a lot of down-hill stepping, in which my toes were rammed into the fronts of my boots, over and over, heating them up and forming serious blisters on several toes.

The Corpsman went around after the event and we took off our boots to be inspected.
Most people had survived the day with little or no problems, but several of us had blisters and hot spots on our feet... I was one who had some serious blisters! We were sitting there, with out boots off, letting our feet dry and rest, and being inspected-- and those who needed it, got treatment.

After getting some care, I went around, taking photos of some of the Marines, and saw a young marine sitting with his feet on his boots, his socks draped over his leg, with a sad look on his face.
It stuck out to me as an almost Rockwellian image.

I sketched him, but I also took photos, because I knew I had to capture the color of the scene as well.

Here's the Painting, "Bridgeport Blisters" in process:
Step One-- the Toned "Imprimatura":
 After the Imprimatura, I begin the process of "blocking in" the colors, also called "underpainting"...
 When blocking-in, it's best to use the general rule of applying my "lightest lights and darkest darks"...
 My intent is to have an abstracted area such as the wooded background, stand as an abstracted area of light and color, as well as being a recognizable image.

The underpainting of the figure and objects in the foreground is primarily "Coyote" tan/green (which makes sense, as that color runs throughout the MARPAT woodland pattern! Over that I will scumble and drag color across the undertone, to create the digital look of the cammies and gear.
A few more layers, and some detail on the face and gear, and you'll be able to sympathize with a young Marine who's feet have seen better days..!

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

This is great! I had sore toes after standing and painting all day Saturday at a Veterans Day celebration, so I can emphatize. I have an excuse, I'm old as dirt. Thanks for a smile and showing the progress on the painting.