Monday, February 26, 2007

Post Script

A few people have been kind enough to ask that I leave this blog on-line for future reference. I will do so. After some time passes, perhaps I will yet begin again.

Thank you.



TTD said...

I just came across your blog for the first time and definitely hope you start up again...

Civil War Battles

Bob in PA said...

I like your perspective in your writings and everyone has their own styles and your's is definitely unique. Hope you continue sometime soon.

Randy said...

Thank you both for the encouragement. I also hope that soon I will have the time to begin again. Thank you for visiting.



Jeff Fioravanti said...


How do I begin to write this? I can certainly understand from your posting of February the conflict you must be feeling.

As an artist to artist, and you are an artist my friend, we all encounter our dark periods. Like the storm clouds that harbinger a warning of bad weather, we know in our hearts that they will soon pass. I have had many periods in my artistic life where I have wondered, is it all worth it. What value am I bringing to this world? You put so much heart and soul into the craft, and when little reaction is received you start to have self doubt. A sense of failure fills your heart.

I find though, that when I start painting for others, I start failing as an artist, because I cease to be putting what is meaningful to me into the work. If I allow others to dictate how a tree should look, or a stone wall, it will not appear correctly, and usually, not to them either, because frankly, I can't see what they see, I can only see what I see. When I paint what is meaningful to me, those pieces tend to be more emotionally charged. That spirit, then transfers to the viewer and often makes the piece more attractive to to them as well. In essence, when I paint for me it serves the purpose of painting for others.

I have never been in battle. I have never served in the military. My recently deceased uncle was a West Point graduate, and offered to me upon graduation from high school to get me into that fine institution. I declined. The Vietnam War was ending, and I had no interest in War. I had seen enough on the evening news. I knew of the horrors having grown up near the graves of men who went forth during the Revolution, the Civil War, WW1, WW2, and beyond.

I would come to know of war when my wife's aunt would talk of her husband/my wife's uncle, who, while serving in the US Navy in WW2, would find himself and others eating bugs and other unmentionables to survive, as the hid from the Japanese who had overrun their island. He used to awake at night screaming after reliving the experience in regions of sleep.

I learned of it from my friend who served in the jungles of Vietnam, who at 19, as a sergeant watched too many die, causing him to this day have difficulties in establishing relationships for fear they too would die.

I know of war from my friend who served in Korea, and searched for more than ten years to find a comrade who took his place on the line in Korea, only to discover the man had died. This man, like yourself is a writer, and he has published many a story about war, none of which paints it as a pretty picture.

My own father-in-law served in Korea, and talks little of the experience. It was not until recently that I even knew he was there, until he spoke with another veteran at a church social; they only talked of the cold.

I find from my times in the midst of veterans, those who experienced war first hand talk little of the time. They want to forget, and nothing about their service was romantic.

In October 1862, Matthew Brady brought home the horrors of war, or as described in a review of the images he displayed entitled The Dead at Antietam the New York Times wrote:

"Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them on our dooryard and along the streets, he has done something very like it."

When painting, one of the things we are taught is to step back from the canvas to gain a new perspective on the project. I understand from your post of February, that at present you are stepping back from your canvas.

Still, as Brady sent his legions of photographers or should I say, artists out into the fields to record the horrors of the battlefield, he and these talented individuals were not amiss in what they were portraying.

Just as many a boy, North & South went forth to the stories of Washington, Greene, Lafayette, and the painted images of them in their glory, they would soon find out that war was not that glorious, that was "Hell"

Ever notice, that most of the romantic portrayals of war feature Generals or leaders? Why? Because Generals don't experience war, the wage war. The line soldiers experience war.

I did not write this comment to convince you to pick up your pen. I am merely trying to say, that by writing of the darker aspects of war, you do not provide a disservice, on the contrary, you help to keep the field level.

When I paint historical pieces, they are landscapes, devoid of the human image, but encompassing the human spirit. They are created not to glory in the events of the location, but in the location themselves. They are pieces not of war, but of hope, of peace, of tranquility, and reminders of what horrors we endured, and what lessons need to be learned. They are created in hopes that people will pause and reflect upon that time, and what it means to us as a nation, and more importantly to themselves.

Randy, though I hold no hope of steering you back to your blog, I do wish to say, that you are a talented writer, and I do miss your ruminations and extraordinary ability. For these selfish reasons, I hope that you will return and begin writing anew.

I apologize for the length, and hope this is not too disjointed. In closing, I thank you deeply for your contributions, and your fresh and insightful views through your writings toward keeping our history alive.

With appreciation,

Mike said...

Hi, I would love to be added as a link to any or allof your blogs. I have a interesting (at least I think so) Civil War Blog. Hope to hear back from you. If you go to my profile you will find a link.

lisa said...

I am the adviser for a high school newspaper. A student submitted an opinion piece about casinos in Gettysburg and he uses your site for his statistics. Could you provide some information about yourself and the source of the facts and figures you use?
Please respond to
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just read a very nice chapter in a book that dealt with a tour guide on the Gettysburg battlefield. Book 3 on page 131 in Sam Moffie's NO MAD.

Anonymous said...

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