This wildfire painting was created in memory of a wildland firefighter that lost his life on the job.
As I sat down tonight to sign, title, and wrap up this painting for shipping, I struggle with giving it a title. I struggle for the right words, the right description. Do I use this man’s name? Do I put my own personal filter of belief and intuition in the title to send a message? No. Nothing seems right. And then I decide to pray about it.
I know it sounds simple or strange but I have felt such special feelings while making and looking at this piece. I know it was inspired by God and I know He will help me find a title. I finish my prayer then stop and meditate, waiting for an answer. I keep feeling that the word “sacred” needs to be in the piece, since that it the word my client used to describe the photo that this piece is based on. Then the word “place” comes to my mind, this is the place where they last saw him alive, the place where he lost his life, a sacred place. Then the word “brother” comes to my mind. Yes, this was the word I was feeling and needing. He was their brother. Not just a co-worker, but a brother. And this piece was created because of their love for their brother. So the title came to be, “Our Brother’s Sacred Place.”
This piece is painted in black and white to represent time standing still. Time stops when a life is lost, especially one that you love. The details of color are not necessary because the feeling, the place, and the memory of a man’s life is what this piece aims to portray. Yet a blue sky greets the eye with a sense of hope, peace, humanity, and depth. Simple, yet striking. Powerful, yet soft. Bold, yet sorrowful.
Creating this piece was a sacred experience. I struggle to put my emotions and thoughts into words. I felt love, peace, and sorrow as I created this painting. I created it in the quiet moments of my day, so I could truly focus on creating a thoughtful and touching piece. I painted during the day so that my heart and mind would balance the heaviness of grief with life and light.
I know this may not be the best or biggest wildfire painting I have or ever will create, but to me this is one of my greatest works of art. If I never paint again, I will feel fulfilled with this as my last piece. I can think of no greater way to share my skills and passion for this subject matter —wildfires— than creating a meaningful tribute piece to a fallen wildland firefighter.
I do not know how this crew feel about the loss of their fellow brother. But I do know what sorrow and mourning feels like. My heart aches for the loved ones left behind, grieving for their brother. And after experiencing the loss of my own loved ones I turn to prayer and art as a way to heal my broken heart. I hope that this wildfire painting can help heal and pay a fitting tribute to a dear life that was loved and cherished.
I will never forget this piece and the impact it has had on my life and work. I am honored to have had the opportunity to create this piece for a crew of hotshots grieving their lost brother.