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Soldier turned artist in Diss with works from 30 years in the Army

PUBLISHED: 16:32 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:55 28 October 2018

Casualty an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas Farthing

Casualty an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas Farthing

Archant

He has been hailed as an “inspirational, extraordinary man” by many people who admire his work.

Soldier turned artist Doug Farthing who is subject of an exhibition at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Douglas FarthingSoldier turned artist Doug Farthing who is subject of an exhibition at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Douglas Farthing

Lowestoft’s Douglas Farthing MBE is a war artist with a difference.

After more than 20 years in the Army, he served with the Territorial Army of the Royal Anglians and was deployed in Afghanistan.

Out in the field, alongside his military equipment, he carries a sketchbook in his kitbag so he can record the places and people he comes across.

Perspective an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas FarthingPerspective an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas Farthing

He spent 26 years in the Army before retiring in 2007. He returned to his home town to start painting and documenting his experiences of the war.

But frustrated at the isolation of being an artist, he quickly signed himself back into the Territorial Army, and managed to combine the experiences of painting while being a soldier.

As well as this, he mentors young soldiers, records observations about being on the front line while maintaining peace and helping everyday people maintain a normal living in volatile and horrific circumstances.

Life on the frontline, an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas FarthingLife on the frontline, an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas Farthing

Now some of his works are coming to Diss in an exhibition titled Drawing Soldier: Douglas Farthing’s Visual War Diaries in which he articulates his thoughts and feelings about modern warfare through prints and manuscript records.

The works – drawn over a period of 30 years serving as a Soldier in the British Army – describe in line form, feelings and experiences which are hard to articulate in any other medium.

The graphic use of ink and the size and format of his work allows the viewer to feel what a soldier feels when in conflict with the enemy.

Austerity an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas FarthingAusterity an artwork by soldier turned artist Doug Farthing. Picture: Douglas Farthing

The prints – mono and etchings – are a series. Together with a manuscript they record Farthing’s service with our armed forces.

The exhibition opening will be followed by a talk and Q&A by the artist himself on November 3, from 6pm-8.30pm. He will also be hosting a free workshop Drawing with Doug from 10.30am-12pm.

• Drawing Soldier: Douglas Farthing’s Visual War Diaries is at Diss Corn Hall from October 31-December 1, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

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