The Grim Harvest of War - The Valley Campaign by Bradley Schmehl
Tell Me More
The Grim Harvest of War - The Valley Campaign by Bradley Schmehl ~ Blazing with the fire of combat, Jackson rode onto the coaling. He congratulated Taylor and promised him the captured guns. The enemy staggered, but it didn’t break. They preserved formation even as they left the field along the road to Conrad’s store – pressured all the while by Taliaferro and Winder. Tired after the last few days, the Southerners were not able to pursue rapidly – the infantry pounded out four or five miles and the artillery pushed a few miles farther. The spoils included about 450 prisoners, 800 muskets, one more cannon and some wagons. "Ever laconic, Jackson dispatched a one-sentence telegram to Richmond advising, ‘Through God’s blessing the enemy near Port Republic was this day routed with the loss of Six (6) pieces of his artillery.’…Long after the war Richard Taylor recalled, "I have never seen so many dead and wounded in the same limited space. ** In the painting, The Grim Harvest of War, the artist chose to show Major Wheat in uniform, but not "bloody as a butcher”. Southern casualties: 816 killed and wounded Union losses including prisoners: 800-1000 Area of the coaling: less than 1 sq. mile DF
About The Artist
As an artist who loves and studies history, Bradley Schmehl has made it his life’s work to research the subjects for his paintings through diaries, letters, books, visiting historical sites, and generally immersing himself in any materials available to him. From the Civil War to the cowboys of the West, Schmehl finds his subjects fascinating. Talking and exchanging ideas and information with others who share Schmehl’s interest in history also offer the artist opportunities to expand his resources. The artist says, “History is a world which is past, yet exerts its influence on us all. It is possible to visit and experience the world of history through the work of writers, filmmakers, living historians, and artists. I want to help open the window on our history so that more people can share in the view.”
Schmehl’s detailed paintings reflect the many historical aspects he includes in his images. As an avid reader, the artist tries to capture in his mind the events chronicled in the books and other materials he reads. Schmehl also consults with historical experts. Armed with all the research available to him, the artist’s goal is always to paint each element of an event or story. From uniforms to weapons to horses to even the time of day and weather conditions, Schmehl’s paintings are as authentic as possible.
The artist usually starts with a rough pencil sketch, mostly done on location, then he engages his models to pose as the various characters in the image and photographs them. Once Schmehl is satisfied that his concept is historically accurate, he commences creating his painting. Working in oil on canvas, the artist creates a rough under-painting. After drying, he over-paints the details and refines his brushwork. Schmehl describes his technique as “painterly realism.” “I strive to capture the true nature of the light, the color, but I make no effort to disguise the brushstrokes. Even while attempting to render meticulous detail, I strive to paint boldly and deliberately.”
Schmehl has traveled throughout the country in pursuit of his subject matter. Extensive trips to Civil War battlefields, to other historical sites, to even being on the range in Texas have allowed the artist to collect and record the many, many notes, sketches, and library of materials that contribute to Schmehl’s fine work. A Schmehl painting gives the viewer a unique perspective on the subject matter portrayed. As the details in the image come to life, an appreciation of history is evident.
When not on a research trip, Schmehl cherishes the time he and his wife, Becky, spend in their 1885 Victorian home with their two cats. As committed Christians, the artist and his wife are active in their church; Brad plays the guitar in the worship band.
Come live history through the eyes and paintings of Bradley Schmehl…it will be a most enjoyable journey.