Sometimes, ideas come to me in the middle of the night and I create in bursts.
Other times, it’s a slow burn. An escalation. One small idea leads to the next and the next. That’s what happened with my “The Rising” series.
It all started with one painting of a photo I took of an October sunrise while out running. I tried out using a palette knife to apply the paint for the first time and it was like a switch clicked into place.
I really liked the way I could manipulate the paint and the colours and the fact that there was no way to get it ‘perfect’. This freedom led me to play more and create some really interesting pieces.
I love the way this collection came together. One piece after another. As I completed a few of them, I realized a theme was coming together.
Then, Bruce Springsteen lent the song “The Rising” to the Biden/Harris campaign. And then they won.
I’m not American but living in Canada means the outcome of the election is important. Being a caring and feeling human means this result is the only one I felt I could hope for. I was elated at the result. Two paintings came from the sunset and sunrise after we learned Biden would be the next US president.
It all seemed to fit together. A collection of sunrise images. A collective call to rise up and do better.
The album “The Rising” has been my favourite by Bruce for a long time. It was Tyler’s too. Words from the song “My City of Ruins” are printed on the plaque on the memorial bench I had installed for him in Fort McMurray.
It’s an album about loss and hope. About pain and healing. About a reason to keep trying for more.
It asks us to rise up. I’m doing that through my art. Trying to inject a little more beauty, a little more peace, into this world. And through that effort, I’m finding more of those things myself and it all becomes cyclical, spiralling up, rising up.
I’ve put a lot of hope in these paintings. Hope that the world is on its way toward a more just future where there is room for goodness and kindness and care. I hope you find hope in these paintings. I hope they make you want to rise up, too.