I usually start my paintings by doing a quick under-painting to establish the composition, colors, and values. The first layer is nothing to rave about as its just the foundation for the detail layers. I begin by finding the negative space around the stars on the flag. Then I'll fill in the marines and everything else.
Time to start the next painting. This one will be a bit more serious than the nibbled chocolate Easter bunny I recently completed. The idea for "Remembering Iwo Jima" started when a family member give me a an old M1 Garand ammunition box from WWII, as you will see below. I don't think it was ever used - its probably a surplus item because it is in pretty good condition. The box is a cool piece and has a great appearance but its not something that can't stand alone in a painting; it needs something more to it. I considered a few ideas but decided to pair the ammo box with a replica statue of the Iwo Jima sculpture created by Felix de Weldon which was inspired by the iconic photo of the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi on February 23rd, 1945. Considering that 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of this scene from 1945, the idea seemed appropriate.
My next challenge was finding a sculpture that had the detail I wanted. There are many replicas out there and I've probably seen them all, but I settled on one from the Bradford Exchange. However, it has a base that I don't particularly care for, so I'll be cropping it out for the painting. In addition to, the flag on the statue is also terrible - Its made of plastic and is very un-flag-like. I managed to find a cloth flag with 48 stars on ebay that I will substitute it for. Yep, 48 stars - Alaska and Hawaii were not states in 1945; aren't details fun?
Below is my non-perfect photoshopped reference photo with the statue's base removed and the cloth flag. This is how I want the painting to look.
Kyle Surges's Oil Painting Blog
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