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Nov 12, 2009

From Afghanistan with Love, part 3


"Blue Ridge Farm" - 24" x 48" -oil

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With all of the show stuff going on I just realized that I didn't post the conclusion to my trip to Afghanistan. So without further ado...

Since the last time we left Steven he was waiting to discuss flights out to Bagram. We went to the PERSCO (Personnel Support for Contingency Operations) tent to see about our flight out. The five of us sat their listening to all of the names that were listed. Only two of our names were called to board the flight... neither of which was mine. Obviously this caused some concern because it would send one artist and one escort to Afghanistan leaving the remaining two artists and one escort in Kyrgyzstan.

This is where the trip took a bad turn. While in the terminal waiting area, one of the other artists convinced the higher ups to send two artists instead of an artist and an escort. While making this deal, the same artist decided (without my knowledge) that if two artists were going that I would not be one of them. This was not his decision to make and his reasoning was even more disrespectful to me as both an artist and a human being.

So there I was in Kyrgyzstan, dazed, confused and angry. With the exception of the mountains and the dry air there was nothing special about the base. Fortunately my escorts and some of the folks at public affairs were able to get me into some places around the base that were normally off limits. Got lemons...make lemonade. Everyone that I encountered during this time was kind of skiddish until they found out that I was a volunteer and not a contractor (soldiers don't seem to be fond of contractors).

In the end I was able to get a lot of reference for my painting. The trip wasn't what I expected but my life isn't what I thought it would be (it's better). Anyway...since I'm posting this I can say that I got home safely. Now I wonder where the next trip will take me too.

8 comments:

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Wow Steven. Not only are your a remarkable artist, but a remarkable person too. I am very happy to hear you are safely home. Another beautiful painting. I definitely admire all that you do.

Sheila said...

Sounds like a little professional jealousy on the part of the other artist. Too bad, I think what goes around, comes around. You did well in making lemonade but most importantly, you came home safe.

Lauren Maurer said...

Wow, great painting - great story! Too bad about the lemony part, but at least some good came from it! :) I love hearing about your adventures!

Cathyann said...

You are certainly a better person for having made good with a hurtful, bewildering event, Steven. Glad you are back safe and doing what you were born to do. And also for sharing the story of your adventures
with us. Best.

dominique eichi said...

Wonderful piece. Question how did you get picked to go there ?

Douglas Hoover said...

Steven, "Blue Ridge Farm" really speaks to me. Being a "Carolina" boy, this painting reminds me of the trips through the Appalachians with the family.

I gotta hand it to you, concerning your trip to Afghanistan... way to make chicken salad out of, well, you know where I'm going. You handled that very well & I'm looking forward to seeing some inspired pieces.

All the best to you, Steven.

Steven S. Walker said...

Thank you everyone! It was pretty hard for me not to lose my cool but I can hope that everything happens for a reason.

Kerri Settle said...

I'm sorry to hear about the other artist trying to bogart your experience, though I know you're a talented enough artist to overcome the limitations.

This 24x48 blue ridge painting is so gorgeous, something I'd love to see in person and have hanging on my wall.

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