Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Art of James Dietz


I found the following article at and was interested enough to look for James Dietz's website. I was impressed with the quality of Mr. Dietz's art and pleased with his subject matter. You should give his site a look. You won't be disappointed.

Dietz Painting Portrays 82nd Soldiers in Battle

Army News Service Sgt. Mike Pryor September 25, 2006Ft. Bragg, N.C. -

At a time when many Soldiers carry digital cameras on patrols and raw footage from combat is downloadable off the Internet, using oil paint, brushes and a canvas to tell the story of battle might seem like an outdated approach.

Fans of painter James Dietz would disagree.Over the past 20 years, Dietz’ paintings have been commissioned by more than a dozen Army organizations to commemorate military campaigns and battles stretching from the Revolutionary War to the war on terrorism.

In a sense, an event hasn’t truly been captured for posterity until it has been rendered in a Dietz painting.“His paintings freeze a piece of history,” said Master Sgt. Robert Karnas of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

During a Sept. 22 ceremony at BCT headquarters, Dietz officially presented his new painting, “Bridges of Freedom: Task Force Falcon Liberates As Samawah,” which portrays members of 2nd Brigade during a 2003 battle in Iraq that won the brigade the Presidential Unit Citation.

“You captured a moment in time that we can all reflect on, and for that we owe you a debt of gratitude,” said brigade commander, Col. B. Don Farris, during the presentation.Afterwards, Dietz spent several hours signing prints for paratroopers who purchased a reproduction of the painting.

In terms of his art, Dietz said his goal was not 100 percent historical accuracy but to capture the emotion of the moment and portray it on canvas. “It may not be totally what it looked like but it’s what it felt like, and if I can capture that then I know I’m on the right track,” Dietz said.

Dietz said he relies on the input of Soldiers from the units who commission his paintings to help him make the paintings as true to what really happened as possible.“I depend on the unit and the people in it to tell me, ‘This is what it looked like and this is what it felt like,’” he said.

Many Soldiers who waited in line to have Dietz sign their prints of agreed that he had captured in a single image the raw essence of a battle that lasted days.

For Sgt. 1st Class Santos Cavasos and Sgt. 1st Class Donald McAlister, who fought in the battle portrayed in the painting, seeing Dietz’ version seemed to bring back a flood of memories.

“Remember how the rounds were coming right over our heads?” asked Mcalister.“Remember when I fell in that artillery hole?” Cavasos countered.“We’re always telling people, ‘See that guy in the picture? That’s me,’” McAlister said.

Then he stared at his print quietly for moment. “It’s cool, man. We were there,” he said finally.

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