USAF Art Program at the Society of Illustrators
AUGUST 22, 2012
One of two large scale paintings. This one on 24"x48" panel. Late afternoon patrol. The soldiers above are keeping their eyes focused further down the road at the people in the mock village. The trainers made sure nothing ever got too comfortable or, worse, predictable. Because nothing in reality is predictable.
2nd large scale piece. Similar dimensions.
Went on a night patrol that soon became real dark, too dark to draw. I did what I could, relied on the photos to back me up. This soldier was very focused as she covered the rear during the patrol. It was difficult not to be caught up in her attention to her role.
When you are attempting to cover hundreds of trainees undergoing exercises, the wise thing to do is accept that you will not be able to capture the chaos of the constant movement. It wasn't often that I could just plop myself and draw once the settling in started. These soldiers weren't all in the image at the same time. But as they came in and out I dropped them in. Here the trainees are setting up a listening and observation position on an elevated level of a captured village. As SMSgt William Brown explained to me in an email when I sent him the drawing: " What is happening in your drawing is that after/while they are clearing their base of operations they are setting up a listening and observation post (LP/OP) on a high point to secure and protect the area. The elevated position gives them better and further visibility of the surrounding area but also exposes them more to hostile fire because they themselves are more visible. As you continue to build your base you harden those positions to better protect the airmen posted there but they are never completely safe but it is a necessary risk to protect the masses."
I was hoping to capture the exhaustion following an assault. It may be a mock village and a mock enemy, but the gear and armaments are still the same heavy and you are running around like your life depends on it.