Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One Mans Passion Brings Healing To Many

I paid a visit to one of Baytown's prized jewels, namely Ken "the Dauber" Pridgeon, a local artist on a mission to paint a large canvas of every military sacrificed G.I. from Texas in the Iraqi Freedom campaign.  Whew!  Ken is on Social Security and bears the cost of his passion, but the monetary side of it is minor in comparison to the burden of his soul as he embraces the sacrifice every airman, soldier, sailor, or Marine he paints.

Ken is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in North Africa, but is quick to say that he was no hero.

His studio is lined with large paintings of men in uniform, all of whom paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  In his early works, he painted them in high school sports uniforms, or enjoying their various interests, but as the scope of his project grew, he began to focus exclusively on their military experience.  He is painting himself into a corner.  The amazing likenesses of our boys have filled the studio to the bursting point.

Ken poured tears on the floor as he told me their individual stories and I too, having lost me son to the effects of this war, was moved with grief for their sacrifice.

My own office is graced with one of Ken’s early paintings in this direction, one of my son Nick, after surviving an IED attack in Iraq.  Ken accurately portrayed my son with facial bandages and a burning Army vehicle and I am blessed to have it.
Ken has now painted 33 portraits at his expense.  He sends the parents or loved ones a high quality print free of charge and hopes to paint all 500+ lost military personnel from the state of Texas to honor them.  The only problem he foresees is where to exhibit the many canvases when the project is complete.

We both feel this is history in the making, but neither of us have a solution or the backing to make a permanent exhibition a reality.  Ken also worries the enormity of the project will tax his physical timeline.  I know one thing.  He paints from early in the day to late in the night and his passion to the project is stronger than ever.

If you have a solution to help “the Dauber”, please contact him at: 832-514-1452

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