Memorial Day weekend seemed like a good time to share an image I made of my husband, Tom. We are very grateful that Tom is with us today after serving in the Army as an Airborne infantryman. He fought in two different conflicts: Just Cause and Desert Storm.
Today we remember his brothers-in-arms that didn’t make it back. One particular young man Tom holds very close to his heart. He was only 17 years old and Tom did everything he could to keep him safe, but fate intervened and the young man was shot and killed. This happened right before Christmas over thirty-five years ago, but Tom still has to get through that anniversary every year before he can get excited about celebrating Christmas.
While creating this image, I was thinking about Tom, his dad who also served in the 82nd Airborne, and how his service affects him to this day. What advice would the Tom of today give to his young self? “Keep believing in yourself. You can do this. Keep working out and don’t let the donuts win!” He told me.
We were just talking about our dads today and how they were both in the Army during the Viet Nam war. Neither one saw any action, although my father-in-law put in to go three different times.
I combined a portrait I took of Tom with an image of him in the Army. The camouflage pattern and the maroon of an Army beret were the inspiration for the hand-painted watercolor background. “Paintography” refers to combining photography with digital painting. I have adapted the term to include hand-painting as well. I crafted a thesis statement to describe this work:
"By combining photographs with digital painting or painting by hand, or even by using photographic painterly effects, the artist is able to bring the mediums to another level, infusing the work with more drama, emotion, and meaning."
Memorial Day is full of emotion as we remember those we have lost in protection of our freedom, as well as loved ones we have lost. It’s a good time to reinforce the bonds with those we still have around us and share stories of those who have gone before.