16 October 2014

The Devil's Harvest



START: Saturday 18 October at 8pm
END: Sunday 19 October at 9pm
watch the reaping take place here
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My big War Project, To the Sound of Trumpets, is broken down into five sections, Dance Partners, Calamity, The War at Home, The Devil's Harvest, and Remembrance. For The Devil's Harvest I'll be painting 24 ink portraits in 24 consecutive hours of 24 soldiers from Prince Edward County.

Like my previous ink painting marathons, 2012's Burning the Midnight Oil, and 2013's County 101, I'll be streaming the event live on its own Ustream channel for all to see. It'll be silent (video only) because I tend to watch movies and TV shows during these things and I don't want any copyright issues to deal with –also, I hear people like to have their own audio playing while watching, anyway.
Unlike those previous two marathons, there will be no puppet breaks and, obviously, this one will just be 24 hours long.

I thought choosing the subjects for this marathon would be easy, and in the initial stages it was. I went to the cenotaph in downtown Picton and transcribed the names of the soldiers killed during World War One. The names are neatly grouped by ward and there were over 150 in the WWI section on the main monument (other wars are also represented). Then I had to find photos to work from...

Back in the winter when I was still deep in research and didn't know what shape the overall project would take, my plan was to paint only five large paintings (one per County museum, themed along similar lines as their programming for the year) and maybe -maybe!- another 100-hour marathon (of soldier portraits).

Maybe.

After scouring various archives online and in person, I could only find about 30 or so usable images so I scaled down the marathon to 24 hours*. Coincidentally, but appropriately, my scheduling of the marathon takes place on the centenary of the First Battle of Ypres (19 October 1914), the first Canadian division having arrived in England only days before.





*Unfortunately (or fortunately; we'll see), as I scaled down the ink painting marathon I greatly scaled up the rest of the project to total 100 pieces in the end.


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