Today, I had the time to review the package of historical materials I will be using for the Col. Russell portraits. Included was a CD, titled "Follow Me", Col. Clyde R. Russell and his service to our Country, and a set of photographs.
The CD was a timeline story of Col. Russell's life and military history, and provides insight into one of so many common, ordinary, (lets call them what they really are,) heros. The work these warriors are called upon to do is, to them, their job; It's what they do. That so many take it on so willingly throughout our countries history is in itself incredibly impressive. That those who belonged to what is known as "The Greatest Generation" did so with such humility is, in itself, humbling.
I am privileged to have been called on to try to create something that adds to the great volume of history from a visual artists perspective. Over the years, meeting with the families, soldiers, writers, historians and so many others with a shared interest in commemorating the sacrifices of these warriors has given me great satisfaction, and this project is one I approach eagerly.
Often, a painting is done with minimal reference materials, and only a long ago used name of a battle, or a hilltop…a river. In the case of the Col. Russell portrait, I have been fortunate to have regular contact with the son of Col. Russell, who himself was an officer with MACV in Vietnam.
Chris Russell (who continues to work with the Veterans Administration helping todays soldiers) has been extremely gracious and knowledgable, providing me with all I need, and more.
In collaboration with Daniel Peterson, Museum Director of the Don F. Pratt Museum in Ft. Campbell, Ky., an exhibit has been assembled and displayed with items and images from Col. Russell and his wife Jini, who served with the Red Cross following her husband throughout Europe and Germany during WWII. Chris Russell's donation of these family heirlooms will help provide future generations a bit fuller, richer history.
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