Veteran's mural salutes comrades in arms

May 25, 1997


Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Though he's already served his country in the Vietnam War, local artist and veteran Chip Lowman wants to give one last salute.

Just in time for Memorial Day, Lowman, 46, finished a colorful, detailed 30-by-40-inch opaque watercolor mural depicting America's five wars of the 20th century, from World War I to the Persian Gulf War. It's titled "A Salute to our American Veterans - Never to be Forgotten."

"My plans are to take it national to all veterans and military organizations," Lowman said. "I just feel that had it not been for all the gallantry and meritorious contributions of all the veterans, we wouldn't be standing here today."


Lowman spent 5,000 hours on the project, at first working from a coffee table in his apartment, starting in October and completing it last month. The painting depicts details of each war in five different panels.

A former military illustrator and caricature artist, Lowman said he hadn't embarked on a painting of this magnitude in 25 years.

"One of the hardest things to do was to come up with a panel. I wanted to keep it as one, yet as individual units," he said.

Prints have been made of the original. He presented the first one to Waynesboro's American Legion on Monday.

With the print completed, it's Lowman's goal to market it as a fund-raising product for veterans and military organizations. For each sale of prints to the organizations, Lowman said it's his intent to donate part of the proceeds to local and nationally based charities.

If the fund-raising idea takes off, Lowman said he has plans later to market the prints as well as T-shirts, mugs, jackets and other products through his startup mail-order business in Waynesboro called American Pride U.S.A.

"I intend to add other products as it grows and develops," Lowman said.

It took Lowman almost just as long to research the history for the subject matter as it did to design and paint it. Lowman said he tried to portray each item in the painting as authentically as possible, from the design and look of the service medals, right down to the correct colors on aircraft wings.

"I had to do the research to know what was correct," he said.

At 17, Lowman joined the Air Force as a military artist. He served in Vietnam for 11/2 years and after being discharged, returned to his home town and worked as an illustrator at Letterkenny Army Depot.

Lowman then moved to Hawaii, where he lived and worked as a caricature artist on several of the islands for 20 years.

He returned to Waynesboro four years ago to start his business.

"I've had a hard time getting it all together," he said. "It seems like it's been an uphill battle. But it's not just good for me, it's good for other people."

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