This evening, I received a note via my web site. It came from somebody that I've never met. It made my day. Here is what he said:
I just wanted you to know something. I was asked as an assignment to pick my favorite art piece. I chose your piece Warrior. I am a vet myself, a former Scout. This piece spoke to me in a way I have never experienced. I have never been one for paintings, honestly. This one brought me to tears. It is a symbol of what Americans have forgotten. A symbol of why freedom is not free. I honestly don't know why you painted this particular piece but I wanted to thank you for it. I needed a wake-up call and it has been received, sir. Keep doing what you are doing and I may buy one someday if I can afford it. HA. I wanted to compliment you on your outstanding painting anyway. The impact your work has had on me is nothing short of ball busting. I've slipped into a time in my life where I have felt it is okay to complain. Seeing Warrior reminded me of the constant sacrifice our servicemen and servicewomen make daily and also reminded me that people don't appreciate it.
Again, thank you.
"All gave some, some gave all."
Oil on canvas, 60"x60"
This note just blew me away. I painted Warrior during the heyday of the Iraq buildup. I wanted to remind people that wars have consequences, and if you want to go to war, you better have a damn good reason that justifies all the hurt, pain, death, and destruction that's going to come out of it. Not many people were thinking of that then. Now, with all the publicity about PTSD, traumatic brain injury, the collapse of Iraq into fighting again, and the near-collapse of Afghanistan, people are very aware of the costs of war.
I've seen the effect that this painting has on some people. I've seen people walk away from it because it hit something too deep inside. And I've seen people just glance at it once and move on. That's life.
On rare occasions, though, I get something like this note. This lets me know that my work has had an impact on somebody. It's a powerful feeling.
I consider Warrior to be the best painting I've ever done. Maybe it's the best I'll ever do. Even if I never do anything else, I know that I've done one thing that's good.