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Military Spouse Project

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

How it Got Started

It started like this: We had been living on West Point for a year. (It was actually the first time I had lived on a military installation as a spouse. It was and has been a novel experience.) On one of those grey winter days, beautiful on the Hudson, but grey a neighbor/fellow spouse/ friend came by for a kids' playdate. As she was leaving, I said, "Wait!" and went to grab my camera, catching her on my steps in her winter hat. There was something about that moment, that grabbed me. Her portrait was the first, a quick oil sketch. For a while I just sat on the idea wondering how many spouses would entertain me. How many would actually let me paint their portrait?

Complementing my other work

While my other figurative work features military spouses- it's looser, the figures are abstracted. It's more about the experience of being a spouse. It's contemporary.

These portraits, The Military Spouse Project, are more traditional. They are painted portraits in the truest sense. I meet with the spouses, try not to make them feel terribly awkward (more often than not it turns out okay- and fun), and take some photos. Our lives don't allow for a traditional sitting session, we've all got kids, jobs, etc. So photographing them has worked best.

I have found that these portraits feed into my other body of work. When these portraits start to feel tight, I move back into my looser work. Each time I switch back and forth I learn something. It's about the process- and the learning from it.

It is Important

Living on West Point, surrounded by other individuals who have been military spouses as long as I have, it's easy to forget how different our lives are. However, military spouses live dedicated lives full of sacrifice and challenges. For every blessing, there is a hardship to match. As an artist, its become a calling, a goal to create these portraits. It's my way of acknowledging their sacrifices- it's my way of saying "I see you."

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