The beautiful Pacific Northwest has been covered with smoke from the wildfire lately. It isn’t the first time that we have had wildfires here, but this is the worst year yet. It is so sad; Washington was once proud of its crisp fresh air, and this week the air pollution is equivalent to smoking nine cigarettes. As I’m writing this the smoke is finally clearing up a bit due to the rain. I am grateful for the change of weather, but as the years go by our world changes. A few months ago my friend Dawn, who lives in New Mexico, told me one of the beloved parks that has been there for a long time was almost completely burned due to wildfire. Around that same time I got a commission work to paint Santorini, Greece. While I was researching image I found news about the fire in Greece. All of a sudden I realized even the environment around us can change overnight.
Clients have commissioned me to paint portraits to honor and remember people who have passed away. Now I realize that whenever I paint a scene I could be doing the same thing for the world around us. When I paint a place I see everyday, I may be capturing a timeless portrait of a beloved place. I never want to make my work bloated with lots of talk and convoluted theory, but the more I paint and the more I work with clients, the more I understand how much a painting can mean to someone.
I got into watercolor simply because I love the medium: the sense of freedom, the realism of atmosphere, and the quality of light. But now I understand that my responsibility as an artist is more than just painting a pretty picture. The privilege to honor people’s memory and the world around us is such a special responsibility, and I am so glad that you are here with me on this journey.