Correspondence from Richard Diebenkorn to Phyllis Diebenkorn
Correspondence from Richard Diebenkorn to Phyllis Diebenkorn while the artist was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, 21 December 1943
December 21st 
Whatta day! All day on the "butts." Witz's little rear end is really dragging in the sand tonight. But this is only the beginning — New River is said to be much worse. What grand things we have to look forward to here.
Yesterday I spent grieving because I wanted to paint so badly. But I didn't quite know what I wanted as a subject. I just felt like going out and finding something.
Today was different. I found the most inspiring bit of subject matter P.I. has to offer. And at those awful butts. I ached all day today, all over, because I couldn't paint. It was a bright cold day and the targets face into the morning sun. We who manipulate them look up at them. They are quite large and the sun made them very light and yellowish. The design on them looks like this — [sketch inserted] Or something like that.
– 2 –
The sky behind was a very, very intense blue. A Diebenkorn sky with it's gradation from purple blue to cool green blue — only much more intense color. I could go wild doing it. Then the red marker, bright red, which indicates a hit in the "four" ring. Catch this from an odd angle which would emphasize diagonals and the result would be a modern masterpiece. Use a smooth technique.
The picture has all the elements of an abstraction. Everything, that is, the placing, is arbitrary. The brilliant yellow with its unique design placed almost any possible way against the startling blue — with the red marker in just the perfect place. Even bullet holes in the right place. If the diagonals are arranged correctly the dynamic effect of the whipping bullets could be produced.
Oh Darling, I don't know if what I've written makes sense but it would make a wonderful picture.
Lights out in five minutes.
– 3 –
I received your wire. Very cagey my dear. I must see you in person too. And just because I love and miss you so terrifically.
I do love you, Darling, and we're going to have such a DIVINE time one of these days — and keep on having it indefinitely.
I LOVE YOU, SWEET,
P.S. Merry Christmas to you and Mom in case this arrives before then.