Sunday, June 14, 2009

This is my latest painting here to the left. It is 16 x 20 inches and done in oil. At first glance one may only see a an agitated man talking on the phone. Yet he is wearing a camoflauge jacket with military insignia on it. Then one may notice the phone is not a cell phone - which is rare these days. At this point I hope that the viewer will see that he is not stateside and will make the connection that this man is in Iraq.

This painting for me is about a man that I witnessed on the phone to his spouse. It was my first time in the Media Center and I was anxious to call home. We were allowed two calls home a week for only fifteen minutes at a time. I didn't know how much they enforced this rule - but in any case I didn't want to waste a minute on the phone with my wife.

As I waited to get on the phone this guy's voice just kept getting louder and louder. I tried to ignore it but couldn't. "You bitch!" He shouted. "I oughta get your credit cards destroyed!" I couldn't hear what she said but it sounded like she was trying to reason with him as to why she had to spend money. Then finally he stated "I don't give a fuck about kid's school supplies, doctor visits or shit like that! Don't you know where I'm at BITCH!?!"

As my turn to get on the phone came up I just couldn't believe that someone would waste their time yelling at their true love - I had just married four months prior to my deployment. That image of the man yelling at his wife just stuck in my head as I tried to talk to my wife, Dana. As soon as I heard her voice my voice trembled and the thought "I hope I never do that to Dana" came to mind.

Only a few weeks later I called home and the next day I had to go back to work. I was posted with a guy who I couldn't stand, I was stuck with the M240 B for the twentyninth time in a row and I had issues with homesickness and loneliness. Then as Dana started to talk about her day I couldn't hold it any longer and I found myself repeating what the man on the phone earlier said. It hurt and I couldn't deal with it that night.

In the end I suppose that marriage is filled with examples like this but in this sense I didn't know if tomorrow would be my last. During my first four days their we had a rocket attack and I was on a detail for a ramp ceremony for four guys who died in a humvee attack. This was all reeling in my head at the time. At the time I had no idea as to how "relatively" safe we were.

The title of this painting is "Phone Calls Home"

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