COVID Night Crew-Kurt Dittmer

COVID Night Crew
Transparent Watercolor
17" x 21"

Kurt Dittmer


Life changed with the COVID…no more going to the office to work or out to eat at restaurants. It’s been a long time since I had spent such a long period of time at home. So, when the cones showed up on the road in front of our house with signs blocking out the hours at night to have your car off the street, I was like a kid again!

The road crew showed up every night at 7 PM and worked until 7 AM, avoiding the heat and traffic, and as COVID essential personnel, they got to escape their homes! I was jealous. The paving machinery was complex, with a driver (who looked like Santa Claus with his white hair and beard) and two operators on the back controlling the flow of asphalt and the ground crew filling in gaps – teamwork at its finest.

I wish I was essential...

Artist Statement
Julie and I took a 17-day bus trip around Turkey to all the most beautiful places to paint watercolors. We were led by a Turkish artist famous for his portraits...who seldom painted while leading other artists around.

Finally, at one stop, we toured on our own and came outside to find our guide painting a watercolor of an old shepherd, sitting on a rock and surrounded by his sheep. Suddenly, these artists gathered around the old man to watch our guide painting his portrait…scattering all the sheep!

The shepherd spoke to our guide, who translated: “He is apologizing. He only put a small pot of tea on the fire for lunch. If he had known we were all coming and made enough tea to serve us all, it would have made this day perfect.”

Painting brings out the best in people!

Growing up as an Air Force brat to then spend 27 years in the Air Force flying fighters, Julie and I got to experience life around the world and all across the US. Everywhere we go…things tend to happen. We were in the Philippines when Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown and returned to Korea, where the government changed from military control to a democracy.

Returning to the US and Arizona, the governor was impeached, and we moved to Germany in time for the fall of the wall and the end of the Cold War. Then, I was off to Turkey for Desert Storm. Later, I was in Khobar Towers when a truck bomb killed 19 airmen, and I also served in Desert Fox.

Julie, Kalen, and I moved to Bahrain to work in the US Embassy and were present for the USS Cole attack, 9/11 (where we watched celebrations in the street), and Operation Enduring Freedom. Returning to the Pentagon, it was time to retire, and we moved to Southern California for the housing bubble!

We started a small company, Clear Aspect Solutions, doing analysis in the Pentagon and Massachusetts before moving to Virginia and living through COVID…things happen!