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Army reservist painter depicts life on the front line

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 06 July 2010

Artist Doug Farthing at his Henstead studio.

Artist Doug Farthing at his Henstead studio.

Depicting soldiers carrying heavy equipment through hostile environments, Doug Farthing's military art captures the spirit of life in the army.

The Lowestoft artist, who is now a serving with the Territorial Army after leaving regular service to set himself up as an artist in 2007, has drawn on more than two decades of experience to create his unique collection of work showing what life is like for soldiers serving overseas.

One of his paintings.

Depicting soldiers carrying heavy equipment through hostile environments, Doug Farthing's military art captures the spirit of life in the army.

The Lowestoft artist, who is now a serving with the Territorial Army after leaving regular service to set himself up as an artist in 2007, has drawn on more than two decades of experience to create his unique collection of work showing what life is like for soldiers serving overseas.

Following a successful exhibition at Norwich Cathedral in November this year, Sgt Major Farthing, 42, is still carrying his sketchbook around the world recording the people and places he comes across and is set to be redeployed to Afghanistan in the New Year with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

He was born in Suffolk and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment when he was 17. He has served on the frontline in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan - first with the Parachute Regiment and now with the Territorial Army.

Sergeant Major Doug Farthing in Iraq this year

Sgt Major Farthing, 42, said: “Serving with the Army all these years has had a profound effect on my art. Before I even put brush on canvas, I feel that weight of the bergen (rucksack) and equipment the soldier carries; I feel the heat and dust of an explosion and the warmth of a brew being made in the field.

“My art is unique; it's real; it has years of soldiering recorded in the painting.”

In 2002, he was among the first British Troops to enter the Afghan capital, Kabul. He said: “We had the chants of morning prayers, the smell of bread being cooked and the snow-capped mountains. It was good to be there as a soldier, but as an artist it was amazing.”

One of his paintings from that tour - The Fourth Man - was later selected for an exhibition at the National Army Museum in London.

His work now hangs in regimental messes around the country.


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