Moved to Create

"Healing" Acrylic on canvas, 5"x 5"

“Healing” Acrylic on canvas, 5″x 5″

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.

"Blue Door" Acrylic on canvas, 4"x 4"

“Blue Door” Acrylic on canvas, 4″x 4″

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.

Acrylic on canvas, 5"x 7"

Acrylic on canvas, 5″x 7″

"19" Acrylic on mini-canvas, 4"x 4"

“19” Acrylic on mini-canvas, 4″x 4″

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?

This entry was published on July 10, 2013 at 12:50 AM. It’s filed under Art and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Moved to Create

  1. As you know, Michelle, I recently also completed a painting which had fire as its theme. Last year the house where I grew up was the victim of an arson attack. If it hadn’t been for the firemen, it wouldn’t still be standing so I join you in saluting the work they do.

    I didn’t realise it at the time but obviously the fire influenced my painting. Working on that piece was very healing – both in terms of coming to terms with the fire and also in other ways. Fire is also a natural healer for the earth as the carbon that is left creates very fertile soil. I guess we have to view it in that light.


    • Hello bonita, Cherry 🙂 That is a remarkable experience. I agree, I found it to be a very healing process as well. I like how you bring up that fire certainly is a unique healer for the earth, we have had multiple fires in our local mountains in the past two months and I am can’t help but remember that this area has been denied it’s natural fire cycle for just over 100 years, so in a way it was overdue for this cleansing which as you note, revitalizes the soil with nutrients and also allows for new growth, new beginnings.


  2. David and Nancy Salvatierra on said:

    What a beautiful and moving tribute both to Matt and the lost firefighters. Thank you Michelle. I forwarded this to Matty. I love you, auntie


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