Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Art of Being a Marine

by Heather Long

Service to country, devotion to brotherhood, and the spearhead of nearly every major U.S. military engagement in the last two centuries--there isn’t much else you can say about the Marines that hasn’t already been said.  Working on the Always a Marine series continues to enhance my knowledge about these officers and enlisted men that never fails to increase my respect and affection for this branch of the military. 

In Her Marine, I introduce artist and sculptor Shannon Fabray. Shannon’s had a bad experience in college with date rape--while she has no memory of the experience thanks to a roofy, it’s colored her perceptions and her ability to create for years.  You see, Shannon’s specialty is the masculine form.  When one critic too many calls her work cold and lacking in passion, she decides to confront that internal fear head on which brings her face to face with Lt. Brody Essex, an active duty Marine on leave. 

Each has something to offer to the other, and while they don’t find a happily ever after - they do find hope, beauty, and a connection that brings them closer to who they both want to be.  I based Shannon’s skill and art choice on sculpture because years ago, I knew a gentleman who sculpted the most beautiful faces. He loved the contours of shaping a person’s appearance, capturing their emotion, and revealing the beauty that existed inside and out.

Art opens a window of understanding between the past and the present, between those who serve and those who wait and those who are protected.  In my home, hangs a picture that I could not, not own, because every time I look at it, I remember.  This piece honors those who were lost and those who survived, by reminding us that the connection always exists between these bands of brothers Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy, and all. 

 Because I wanted some measure of authenticity, I started looking into the art based on U.S. Marines out there in the world, would it surprise you to know there is a lot of it?

If you are interested in more art featuring Marines, check out: 

The images shown on this page are just a small sampling of the 7,000 plus works of art in the official USMC Art Collection. They are shown for informational purposes only and are NOT AVAILABLE as prints or reproductions.

This artist is a Marine and served overseas during the Vietnam War. His work includes photographs and more.

While not exactly an artist, this site offers a number of art pieces inspired or dedicated to the U.S.M.C.

Never forget that freedom isn’t “free” and that our servicemen and women and their families provide us with an immeasurable gift that we can never hope to pay, but we can hope to honor.  As we look toward celebrating our national holiday tomorrow, share your thoughts and your thanks for the soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen in your lives.

Every comment will be entered to win a giveaway of Her Marine.  


  1. This is fantastic! And I actually used to own a print of the Vietnam Memorial scene pictured above. Don't put me in the giveaway, Heather. I will be owner of said title in the next few minutes. :-)

    1. Thank you hon! I really do love that print. I have it hanging next to my room. I pass it every day - it never fails to capture me.

  2. Great blog and beautiful cover art!!

    1. Thanks Virg! I am very fond of all my covers. The artist did a beautiful job of capturing these men and women as both powerful and vulnerable.

  3. Heather - I've really enjoyed your "Always a Marine" series. As the wife of an Army vet, I know the commitment our men and women make to our country and your characters are multi-faceted, like they are. Thank you for writing them as the real people they are, with strengths and weaknesses and enormous capacity for love.

    1. Michelle, that made my whole day. I have fallen in love with each of these men and women because of those strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Great post! I am so grateful for our military. I come from a long line of militry men and geatly respect all they do/did for this great country. Thank you.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  5. This sound like a really good book. I love the art work.