Today I am really excited to share with you the results of my first time plein air painting a wildfire! Yes, that means a real life wildfire was burning and I was outside trying to paint it. For years, I've been having dreamy visions in my head of what this would be like: Me, out in a beautiful nature setting, alone, and painting away. Haha! It was not like that. I hadn't taken into consideration many other factors, including having a baby to care for in that moment.
As you may know, I'm currently on my Art and Adventure trip. And it took about one week of me being here in California before I was able to go to see my first California fire in over 10 years! I took my baby with me and my art supplies and headed out to the Pilot Fire in the San Bernardino mountains. I got there within the first 24 hours that it started and was glad I did. That's when the color and shape of the smoke cloud is usually the most dramatic.
My baby and I hung out in our van, had lunch and then I sketched a little before trying to paint. I did a painting inside the van just to see what I could get with a more controlled environment and taking a little more time on it. Here's the result:
Then I drove down the road a little ways to a beautiful lookout point. It was a great spot to see the fire next to Silverwood lake. It was there that I tried to paint outside. Wow was that hard! The winds alone made it extremely difficult to paint, probably 20mph+ winds. And then I had a baby strapped to my back to keep him happy but more so he wouldn't get into trouble or hurt. Oh and he's 25lbs. It was a comical scene I'm sure to everyone else at the lookout point, including a news reporter. But in my head I felt like I was rocking it. I was just glad to be there to see the fire and document it myself! Ah!!!
My paintings totally sucked, I only got the first layer on. Meaning I spent like 10 minutes tops on each one outside. Mostly due to the wind, but also the baby. But hey! I took them back home and finished them up. The first image is what I did at the fire and then after that is what I did at home. The pieces I did of the Pilot Fire are 5x7 inches.
Oh gosh, I absolutely L-O-V-E doing this! Making these paintings out here and watching the fires. I love meeting the firemen and women. I love meeting other by-standers and striking up conversations with them. I love being able to share the other side of a wildfire's story and meaning. So many people I meet say how my work would be cool if fires weren't so destructive. But they don't really let it sink in just WHY I paint these--they are symbols of life and change!
I just want to thank you for listening to me and following the journey I'm on. I feel so lucky to be out here in the west doing this trip and am so lucky to have friends, fans, and of course my spouse and entire family supporting me in this endeavor. Okay, don't want to get all teary-eyed so I'll leave it at that. THANK YOU!!!!
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As you know, I'm on my Art & Adventure trip! If you don't know what that's about, it's a trip I'm on for the next 2 months. My goal is to reconnect to the western landscape through painting, photographing, and drawing this land that inspires me and is the basis of my artwork. I'm also hoping to catch wildfires within this peak time in the fire season.
I've been in California now for a week and have already had a chance to go out and paint sunsets 3 times. Yay!!! I'm still tracking and watching wildfires. There currently are no big ones accessible within a 2-3 hour driving radius. So I'm waiting. I've got a few weeks left but I'm sure I'll see some before I leave. The land is extremely dry here in southern California. (And as I'm posting this, I'm actually headed out to catch a wildfire that just started yesterday.)
For now, I just wanted to share a quick little video I did of my first venture out to paint.
I seriously am in love with the colors, vegetation, and shape of the land. It all feels like home to me. I grew up around all this and it makes my heart happy to be here and be studying this land. And of course being with family has been wonderful. It's taken a small army of friends and family to help support me in this endeavor. If only I could fully explain just how much has gone into this trip, it makes my head spin. I'm feeling lucky to have this opportunity even though my husband and I are on the opposite sides of this big planet.
Thank you for those of you who have helped me get out here. I'm lucky to have someone like you that loves my work and supports my ideas and dreams. I really hope I can make a small difference in this world by inspiring and motiving others to live with faith in hope despite dark and difficult times.