Firstly, here's our painting upon which the concept of a "Living Waters" statue and fountain is based-
And below is our ignored original design for the WWII Memorial in Washington -
However, since the memorial is already being being built per the design below, we propose that at least the Murphy Living Waters Fountain be incorporated into the central pool of this otherwise stark and teutonic memorial, to give it the spiritual, human touch, as illustrated immediately below-
And here's the painting we did in 1996 of the indestructable U.S. Servant Bob Dole who we are now trying to lobby to make our vision a reality-
Below is a composite of seven oil paintings we did of Audie Murphy a couple years ago. Click on the painting for a portfolio view and description or you can view them at Richard Rodgers' wonderful Audie Murphy Memorial Website.
And at the bottom of the page is a new mural study we're working on called "American Eagles," and a painting in the planning stages called "Just Passing Through."
For the more patient amongst you, here is the text of the statement I made on June 23, 2001, at the unveiling of the seven paintings in Texas:
"What an extreme pleasure it is to be here in Audiemurphysville with you as a part of these very first Audie Murphy Days of the new millennium.
To tell you the truth, the last time I spoke in front of a group of people was to read out-loud a few lines of advice from Poor Richard's Almanack, 40 years ago in high school English class. And I didn't do too good (I mean well) then.
So, when Director Adrien asked me to say a few words, I only agreed for fear these paintings might be banished to the museum's broom closet if I didn't.
The few words I should say are simply, "I'll let my paintings speak for themselves."
But knowing I may not have the opportunity to speak in public again until my next childhood and then it may be to read "Moby Dick," I'll take this last chance to get some practice and I'll say something about why I did these paintings, paintings that I hope will in some small way help perpetuate the memory of a towering soul, a soul that lived for at least one tour here on earth as Audie L. Murphy.
In this year 2001, most role models, sadly, are over-paid men playing boys' games. Audie, on the contrary, was a boy playing a man's game, and playing it, not for riches, but for righteousness.
I realized this as I was working on this first painting, "Just Another Nightwatch." Thanks to the freeze-frame on my VCR, I was able to do it from a frame of "To Hell and Back." I had done quite a number of paintings of other historic or public figures that interested me for one
reason or another. And I had always found that the more I read up on them, the less highly I regarded them. But with Audie it was just the opposite. The more I learned, the more I admired. His motives were pure, his heart unstoppable. Indeed, he proved to me that "Right does make Might." Indeed, this little country boy's favorite girl was Lady Liberty...and he didn't care if he was destined to die to protect her.
A couple months after I finished this painting I came across the Audie Murphy Research Foundation on the internet and sent them a photo of the painting. Larryann Willis and Audie's son, Terry Murphy, welcomed my efforts with such open arms and gracious assistance, I decided to do another painting.
I had seen a publicity still on the back of the "To Hell and Back" video, but the face was too tiny to work from. Larryann sent me an 8x10 of the pious pose, and she attached a note that said, "Hope this helps, keep up the great work!" Coming from someone that actually knew Audie Murphy, that's all it took to send me back to the grindstone with my two little Dachshunds, Sparky and Pip, at my feet.
And, completely original or not, I consider this piece, "By the Dawn's Early Light" the best painting I've ever done. Doing a painting, at least for me, is a long, solitary process, and I add things to the picture just as much to entertain myself as to make any artistic or social statement. So I'll let the empty helmet, the Dove flying upward with the dogtags, the crushed swastika, and the illuminated cross on the mountain-top speak for themselves. Not to ignore, of course, the barely visible jeep and American flag appraching a pair of cuffed hands that just happen to be praying.
Larryann also sent me a photo of her favorite shot of Audie and said she liked it so much because it looked like Audie was gazing at her from, as she put it, "the winds of time." Coincidentally, before taking up painting,I had spent five years writing a book titled, "In the Winds of Time," so I decided to do this painting, "All's Well," for her personally.
This next and 4th painting I did was actually the one I had considered for my first and only painting of Audie. But I had decided the face was not exactly the face I visualized when I heard the name Audie. So I had put it aside; but when ! got this publicity photo from "To hell and Back" I decided to morph the the older face in it with the younger one, and I came up with this face, "The Mettle of Honor," I spelled medal, M-E-T-T-L-E, meaning substance, the substance of honor.
Still, my hunger to portray Audie properly was not satisfied, so I decided to combine both his war and cowboy persona in one picture, "In the Course of Human Events." Indeed, "in the Course of Human Events" it becomes necessary for a righteous citizen to do things he does not want to do, but which he knows must be done...like metaphorically blow a hole in the evil head of Adolph Hitler and liberate the concentration camps in the process, enabling the folks back home to tend to their Victory Gardens and watch cowboy movies at the Saturday matinee.
By the time I got around to these 6th and 7th paintings I felt I had dealt with the warrior side of Audie enough. In this still from "Ride Clear of Diablo," I felt like Audie looked like an incarnation of the American eagle.
So I did this "Where the Eagles Reign," to depict Audie's passion for the great outdoors. And I did this final installment "Let Freedom Ring" to show his warmth for the totally human and creative, musical side of life.
So, I had done seven; why stop? Well, I decided that if I stopped at seven I could title the whole group, "Murphy's Seven." I liked how this sounded sort of like "Murphy's Heaven," so I went ahead and stopped the painting.
And I'll go ahead and stop my palavering. But not before I dedicate these paltry paintings, for paltry they are compared to the deeds and goodness of Audie himself. So, dedicate them I will, to Audie and his many buddies, past and present, who have given us the freedom to gather here...and to my Dachson Sparky who passed on to Murphy's Heaven exactly a year ago this afternoon , on June 23, 2000.
May God Bless and sustain the spirit of Audie's goodness through the millenial gauntlet ahead. Thank you."