"A sketchbook is a secret thing, a collection of unfinished and often times abandoned ideas never intended for public consumption—at least not in their current state. It’s a private space for honing one’s craft and workshopping, separating good ideas from those best left unexplored." -Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch.
What drew me to the source photo for this image was the physical tension on this Corpsman's brow. If you look closely at the source photo, you can see all sorts of muscles straining on her forehead.
Obviously, I don't know anything about this Corpsman. Maybe she looks like that all the time. However, since she's on Haiti, I'm going to guess that hers is a look of pure concentration, strain, sorrow or all three. It must be very difficult to keep a cheerful mien when you're helping a dehydrated child sip water after a disaster of the magnitude that recently occurred in Haiti. Additionally, how many people has she already tended to? When was the last time she slept? etc. A situation like that has to take its toll.
Having read a book or two in my time about America and Haiti, (The Immaculate Invasion, Mars Learning, The Savage Wars of Peace and The White King of La Gonave) I have to say that despite the contentious relationship between the US military and the Haitian people for the last 100+ years, at least we're there now doing some good, necessary work. How long we'll stay, or how much good we'll do in the long run remains to be seen. In my opinion, I'm sure we'll do as much as we can, given that having a destabilized country in chaos to our south isn't an attractive prospect, especially with the current international security milieu (how long do you think it will take for criminal elements in Haiti to start shaking down passing maritime traffic a la the Somalis? I'm sure the Coast Guard and Navy have a handle on that, otherwise I'm sure they would've tried it by now).
...I'm done. It's been a great learning experience though. Haven't done anything like this in years. (Click on the image for full size).
The ideas for the tattoo of the sextant and the turtle (a Galapagos) seemed better in the conception stage than after their execution. The bowsprit of course is a little "erect", but...let's chalk that up to a crappy tattooist. There are about a million other things I could pick at, but, I won't. (Maybe someday I'll get that Kraken tattoo for myself...)
I decided to add a tattoo of a Kraken devouring a Spanish galleon. The eyes have become a major problem on this one and I'm almost at the point where I think the painting can't be salvaged. The placement of the eyes looked fine when I drew it, but now are so off balance with each other and asymmetric- I can't even look at this painting. I'll try and figure something out.
This is the latest addition to my Bosun's Mate's series. When looking at the source photo for this sketch, you see an UNREP being conducted with three ships. This is a very complicated maneuver in which mistakes can cost people their lives or seriously damage the ships. The Deck Division guys in the photo seem very alert, maybe even tense- but totally focused on the ship next to them. As I was looking at the photo, my eye wandered and picked up an incongruous shape on the gun mount. It was barely noticeable at first, but when I saw it I couldn't help but laugh. It was probably one of the most important weapon components on a naval vessel...a stainless steel coffee travel mug. Recently I was reading Robert Kaplan's "Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts" in which he interviewed a Chief on a destroyer who said something to the effect of, "In the Age of Sail the Navy used to give sailors free rum. Now it's free coffee.". Well. if our Navy runs on coffee, I suppose it's best that they keep it on hand everywhere.
Boy, I can't wait until I can sit down and just finish this baby. The time is coming soon. For some reason, I have a serious mental block about completing work...But I'm an artist, so I'm allowed some neurotic eccentricities. Anyhow. This is the first time in years I've sat down to do watercolors like this. It's been a difficult experience relearning how to do this stuff.