Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sketching on the road.

Whenever my dear wife Pat and I take a "History Trip", we each make sure to bring our sketchbook.  It is a much better memory-making device than our camera.  We all have thousands of digital photos choking up space on hard drives, most never seen more than a few times before disappearing under the avalanche of, you guessed it . . . even more digital photos.

However, when I take the time - anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour - to sit or stand in one place and sketch a scene, I rarely forget that moment.  I can still recall the hot sun on my neck at the 1866 Fetterman Massacre site in Wyoming or the feel of a Montana wind blowing down the valley of the Little Bighorn and through the greasy grass on "Last Stand" hill, while my pencil, paper and imagination carefully fused the past and the present.

The last few days, I managed to draw some small pictures while at Gettysburg and the Robert Morris Inn in Maryland, and here they are.  I may post more over the next week. Be kind, dear viewer, and remember - they are simply intended to jog my memory and perhaps inspire me to break out my paints.

One more thing.  The next time you venture forth, by all means - bring your camera.  Just don't forget your pencil and sketchbook.

Sketching Round Top at Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania, while
in period costume.  The visitors loved it.

Round Top from the north, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

McPherson's Barn, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Aboard the 1886 skipjack, "Rebecca Ruark" out of Tilghman, Maryland

The 1710 Robert Morris Inn, Oxford, Maryland

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last night I put what MAY be the final brushstrokes on my newest First Minnesota painting, which is currently titled, "The Charge - The First Minnesota Regiment and Wilcox's Alabama Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863."  Hardly a stirring title, but WHEW!!!  I signed it this morning and am preparing to safely carry it with us on our B is for Battle Cry book-signing and history tour.

At Gettysburg we will unveil the painting at a reception for Minnesotans gathered for the re-dedication of the various Minnesota monuments found there. On the 150th anniversary of the actual event, I am honored to be given this chance to share my work and my passion for this subject.

Of course, those who know me will understand when I say that the painting will probably receive a another working over once it is back in the studio - a painting is NEVER done until my dear wife wrenches it from my hands.

Since the previous post, there have been some slight additions and changes to the piece - good luck discerning them.  For those who are interested, I intend to reproduce this in some form later this summer.

Keep an eye on this blog, my Facebook page or my website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

More "First Minnesota at Gettysburg" painting details.

As promised, here are a few close-up images of the painting in progress.

This shows Colonel William Colvill,  several paces behind the National Colors, about to give the order to "Charge Bayonets". He will be struck by two bullets within a few minutes. The 11th Alabama Regiment can be seen crossing Plum Run Creek in the background, and some of it's men are firing at or turning away from the advancing Minnesotans.  Since this was shot, I have added several more Confederates.

The 8th and 10th Alabama approach Plum Run Creek.

Even MORE Confederates, this time men of the 14th Alabama cross the knocked down, snake rail fence bordering a large wheatfield.

I continue to add more figures and refine the details of the landscape.  Stay tuned - this baby has to be done by mid June.

Well, this is my first post.  It is kind of lonely out there right now . . . we shall have to do something about that.

"First Minnesota at Gettysburg" painting

I am in the process of working on a large battle scene from the American Civil War, which will travel East to Gettysburg with my dear wife and I in late June as we sign copies of our picture book, "B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet" and help commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the battle.

This is an oil on canvas, 30x48 inches, and it shows the depleted ranks of the First Minnesota Regiment  charging into the Confederate brigade of Cadmus Wilcox and his 5 regiments of Alabamans in the early evening of July 2, 1863.

Close-up photos of this work in progress, as well as further details will follow . . .