I was on vacation at our family cabin in the pines when I first heard of the tragedy in Arizona. Nineteen Hotshot firefighters lost their lives in a horrific wildfire, when winds suddenly shifted and wind speeds doubled, overcoming their efforts and trapping them with no way out. It was crushing to hear of their fate, to think of their families, and so many brave young lives cut short.
Listening and thinking about such a terrible event brings to front the worry and fear I can’t help but carry for my cousin, who is a firefighter for CalFire, in a state cursed with multiple wildfires a year. I am incredibly proud of him and I couldn’t be happier for him, following his success and growth in a career that he loves. But that fear is always perched somewhere in my mind, like a dark shadow in my periphery.
Maybe this is why I was overcome with the urge to paint with fiery reds, oranges, and charred yellows. I found an outlet for my sadness through unexpected abstracts cut with slivers of healing turquoise and bands of deep, life giving blues–trying to express pain and healing, and empathy for such loss. And the fear. I ended up painting 4 mini-paintings in two nights. I tried to honor their precious lives and their surviving families and friends.
What is your creative “sadness” outlet? Does it help at all? Do you open up with a flow of ideas, or does it hinder your creative drive?