Copyright Laws Apply To painting
The painting (colors are not true)
The challenge of painting a Civil War battle scene has been completed. (I have mentioned the progress with a few past blogs.) The scene depicts the Wheatfield, an actual Gettysburg battle that occurred on July 2, 1863. This event was a very bloody battle with many casualities.The union forces were caught between a three-way confederate shooting area and in an open wheat field. My official title for the painting is:
THE WHEATFIELD-WHIRLPOOL OF DEATH (GETTYSBURG, JULY 2,1863).
The painting came about through a friend, Robert “Slim” Bowser. Slim is a Civil War historian representing the 62nd, Company D, Pennsylvania Volunteers of the John T. Crawford Camp#43. This was an actual camp for training soldiers for this war located in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.
Slim’s interest in the Civil war was thrusted upon him as he learned of an ancestor (Sgt. Daniel Swigart) who fought with this 62nd regiment and at the depicted battle. This distant relative is buried at the Pine Creek Baptist Cemetary in Armstrong County. He became a Baptist minister after the war. He is in the painting holding a Bible. A further quest for knowledge happened and an interest in the Civil War erupted from this quest.
Our initial discussions helped spur my interest also. The challenge would include a trip to the actual site; borrowed books and a DVD along with questions and hours of research. My biggest concern was in my ability to capture this battle and produce a good, informative painting. You will need to make that determination.
The painting for me began with some very rough and childlike sketches (scribbles to many)to capture various potential compositions. As these ideas evolved a painting size of 40″x 24″ seemed to work best for me. The battle story could have been told much better with a larger size, but I have drawing table limitations.
Those early, initial sketches were redrawn in the rough on the paper sized to the 40″x24″. I believe I did, at least 5 papers of this size each time refining the art in detail and adjusting positions of the soldiers. (There are over 100 soldiers within this painting.)
With a prepared and gessoed masonite panel I roughly sketched in the hills and transferred the soldiers. The painting began with the “slapping” on the paint colors to just get the feel of the art. Then the process of adding layers and accurate colors began.
I had to constantly use my brain (haha) to try to envision what the scene may have looked like at that particular time and day of July 2nd, 1863. I had documentation of the day being hot and humid. This part of the battle occurred after 6:00 P.M. We know from reports that the smoke-filled sky created an eerie red as the sun lowered against the western skyline. We know light winds, later in the evening, gently removed smoke around and away allowing for the moon to be viewed that night.
I know, at times, the distant ridge (Emmitsburg Road) and the wooded area of the painting (Stony Hill) would have been completely obscured with smoke. I used artistic license to allow these sites to be viewed.
I realized at the end of June that the painting could possibly be completed on the actual day of July 2, 2011… and it was! I didn’t plan the completion that way, but it just happened to work out that way! This fact was quite a coincidence and somewhat humbling
We are discussing options, at this time, as to what will be done with the art. We may do limited edition prints and tee-shirts. Time will tell.
The soldiers painting in the art represent the 62nd (Company D) Pennsylvania Volunteers many of which enlisted from Armstrong County,Pennsylvania. Slim found out one of my ancestors, Simon Blystone (See May 29th blog for more on Simon Blystone) fought at the intersections of the Emmitsburg Road and the Wheatfield (Millerstown) Road . That site would be behind the wooded hill depicted in the painting.
The first showing of the painting will be at the Kittanning, Fort Armstrong Folk Festival on August 4 to August 7. The art will be with the Civil War group representing the John T. Crawford Camp#43. Of course, this will be weather pending and only at various times when manpower permits.
(A more professional photo of the painting will be listed in the future.)
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