Monday, July 24, 2006

Opposites


This is a drawing that my father made in 1945 after he came back from WWII. He was about 19 when he drew it (he joined the navy when he was 17).
I have always been amazed that he remembered the scene in such detail and was able to draw it from memory almost two years later.
When I decided to make it into a painting, I asked him what he remembered about the circumstances of the scene he had drawn. He wrote three pages of his memories of that time.

He was stationed in French Morocco, North Africa, and was in charge of disarming unexploded shells, as well as maintaining the aircraft machine guns, torpedoes and depth charges. He liked to spend some free time in a cafe where he could get real scrambled eggs, bacon and good coffee. There he made the acquaintence of a young Frenchman who had deserted from the army in Algiers soon after the Vichy government was established. He was a proud Frenchman who was deeply hurt by the loss of his country and the establishment of the German controlled Vichy.
My father is at the table on the left and young French deserter on the right. The two French soldiers are from the security detachment at the French side of the U.S. airbase. Most soldiers like them were without real guidance or orders from the Vichy regime so they were fortunate to find a group that could use them (and house and feed them).
The hotel Atlas was in Agadir, on the coast. The building in the distance is a former Portugese fort that was being used as a tuberculosis hospital.
At the end of my father's written narrative he says, "The sad end to my story is that on Feb. 29, 1960 an earthquake, tidal waves and ensuing fire destroyed most of the city of Agadir and killed 12,000 people."
Some months ago my mother suggested that I create a painting from this drawing, and so I have.


acrylic paint on a 9 by 12 inch board (click image to enlarge)

30 Comments:

At July 25, 2006 12:06 PM, Anonymous Mom and Dad said...

Daughter Dear,

You have done a great job of painting the drawing Dad made in 1945!! The colors have brought it alive!!

Congratulations! With our love,

Mom and Dad

 
At July 25, 2006 1:03 PM, Anonymous daughter/granddaughter said...

Wow.
Not only is the painting beautiful but it's wonderful that the drawing has survived so many years!
beautiful remediation of a great little snapshot in time.
I love it.

 
At July 25, 2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Geninne said...

How awesome that you could do this collaboration with your dad....it's really special, I LOVE it!

 
At July 25, 2006 1:49 PM, Blogger Amy Zaleski said...

Wow, real life "Casablanca" ...er, sort of. I'm so amazed how talented your entire family seems to be. How wonderful that you can all share your art. You really did a fantastic job with his drawing, and the post was so interesting to read.

 
At July 25, 2006 2:36 PM, Blogger AscenderRisesAbove said...

gorgeous color... as usual!

 
At July 25, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger michael dailey said...

loved ur post and this painting. nice to be able to share and expand on wht ur father did.

 
At July 25, 2006 3:33 PM, Blogger Sally said...

Did you give your dad a copy? It's a wonderful gift, to paint your father's memories.

 
At July 25, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger AnastasiaC said...

a wonderful post! great painting - very vibrant and colourful

 
At July 25, 2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Jaimie what a wonderful collaboration with your father. How vivid his memory is and you can tell it was a special time for him. The good memories of WW II that is. Awesome job painting!

 
At July 25, 2006 6:00 PM, Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

Beautiful work, both you & your father!

 
At July 25, 2006 7:35 PM, Blogger andrea said...

This story reminds me of two of my favourite movies of all time: Casablanca and The English Patient(and speaking of Italy [The English Patient], I just had a good drool over your Tuscan photos on Flickr). I love what you did with your father's drawing. I'm guessing that your parents have it now -- or a copy? You have made it yours with your trademark colours yet still his. Remarkable.

 
At July 25, 2006 7:51 PM, Blogger Naru said...

wow!!! what a historical treasure. wonderful. very touching with this little piece.

 
At July 25, 2006 8:27 PM, Blogger Alina Chau said...

beautiful painting!

 
At July 25, 2006 8:32 PM, Blogger luisa brehm said...

such a tender thought !!!
and the colors are sooo warm it seems alive ;-))
luisa

 
At July 26, 2006 7:04 AM, Blogger buep said...

Fantastic team-work! It's a very touching story and a beautiful painting.

 
At July 26, 2006 9:50 AM, Blogger Twisselman said...

Coincidently, my son and I just watched Casablanca night before last. Wonderful treatment... as always with your bold colors... of your father's original drawing. Checked out that link. Definite 40s flavor. Very cool. My mother was a high school teacher in the early 40s and has two full scrapbooks of doodles and sketches she confiscated from her students... There's a telling 40s flavor in those, too.

 
At July 26, 2006 9:52 AM, Blogger Twisselman said...

Haven't been 'round for awhile... so happy to see your zebra made it back last week for a visit.

 
At July 26, 2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Roz Foster said...

Oh, man. What a story. And I loved seeing your parents' kudos. Neat post and painting.

 
At July 26, 2006 12:39 PM, Blogger HARDWAX said...

I looked at your fathers wonderful sketch, and your rendering of the sketch is wonderful as well. I liked reading some of your dads personal history in Morocco, makes this painting all the more appealing. Beautiful and poignant work, as usual!

 
At July 26, 2006 11:35 PM, Blogger moverlow said...

Once again a beautiful work. The inspiration for the piece makes it all the more special.

 
At July 27, 2006 6:44 PM, Blogger carla said...

This is such a cool painting, especially with your father's story. There's so much atmosphere and flavor. How wonderful that you gave your father's drawing a new "life," with your brilliant colors. Thanks for sharing this!

 
At July 28, 2006 7:20 AM, Blogger haze mcelhenny said...

Beautiful work and color. The story is amazing! What a great way to connect to your father's history and his life.

 
At August 05, 2006 4:34 PM, Blogger lindall said...

this is a wonderful painting! thanks, also, for sharing the story. it really brings it alive. BTW, love your art.

 
At August 07, 2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous catnapping said...

The colours are vivid. And you know how I love that.

I think it's wonderful that you collaborated with your dad. (and what a hunk, btw)

It was good reading personal history of a moment in time so long ago.

 
At August 27, 2006 8:02 AM, Blogger Sister Judy said...

Dear Jaimie,
I love what you've done with Dad's drawing! It's means so much more to read the story behind the picture.
You are so very talented. I think all the art genes went to you and our children....I only doodle once in a while.
I so enjoy your bright colors.
Love as always,
Judy

 
At August 29, 2006 12:47 PM, Blogger LDahl said...

So special..... thank you for the treat!!!

 
At August 31, 2006 11:40 AM, Blogger in2deep said...

great work!:)

 
At September 05, 2006 8:45 AM, Blogger Franfou said...

nice colors as usual ! great piece !

 
At September 27, 2006 6:46 PM, Blogger Roy Everitt said...

You've done a wonderful job turning your dad's already fine drawing into a genuinely lovely painting. Colouring existing drawings doesn't always work so well.

Interesting that in your version the horizon seems to loom somewhat. Your knowledge of the tsunami, perhaps, or symbolic of the war just beyond?

Anyway, excellent. A touching snapshot of a moment of peace.

 
At February 22, 2007 7:48 AM, Anonymous Niece Liana said...

Why is it that I never knew Grampy was such a great artist??? This was a perfect way to find out, though, wandering around on your art blog :). I love his drawing and your painting. Both beautiful and poignant. Thank you for doing this!

 

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