This project focuses on documenting, through art, the trials and tribulations of Canadian soldiers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reports and Returns

Last week I started turning in my kit to the regiment. I've seen enough people perform this exercise in front the Regimental Quartermaster to know the routine but it still felt very... wrong? Maybe just weird.

I also have been working on an idea of incorporating more 'experiential' subjects into my paintings. This is an idea I've had for a while where the painting is less allegorical and more blatant. I think it might be crude and not very subtle, but its worth exploring. I seem to be doing a lot of that on this project. The story is simple and maybe a bit overplayed. Its about a soldier deployed who is working on his reports and has a recent letter from his wife open on his desk. In fact, the entire tableau is his desk: a map, reports and returns, his side-arm and a photo of his wife. Everything is in black and white expect the photo of the wife.

I say this is a bit hackneyed and out of date because with Afghanistan, the soldiers can pretty much talk to their family whenever they want. They get set time for calls, there is skype, email, Facebook and to be honest most of the people we talked to said they're in constant contact with their family. I guess, if anything, this painting will be an homage to that time before communication became so easy and readily available. And, despite the easy access to loved ones, the same old problems still exist: breakups, sickness, debt, bad report cards. As with any other war, small problems from home have a way of magnifying as they travel the distance between there and deployment. Maybe its that constant awareness that causes some of the stress (ignorance is bliss). These small problems cause huge hurt to the people who cannot just get on a plane to come home to deal with it. No, they have to stay on task and live with it. But some soldiers cannot always find ways to live with these stresses and thankfully, even less find the solution at the end of their side-arm.