This painting was created at the peak of Hurricane Irma at the closest point to our home. It was dark and 90 degrees fahrenheit in my studio, a candle burning on the studio table.
Hurricane Irma was predicted to pass directly over us. The shutters were all closed, the cars gassed up, food filled the pantry, ice was in the cooler. We were prepared. Our house had held up during the last major hurricane, Hurricane Wilma, whose center passed directly over our house approximately 10 years earlier. It was a Category 3 storm….pretty powerful. Hurricane Irma was predicted to hit Miami as a Category 5 and roar up the coast. We were nervouse, but prepared as well as we could.
Knowing the powerful winds and energy of the storm would cause nerves to be frazzled, I made a plan that we should paint at the height of the storm. Painting was usually a great way to calm the nerves.
I set up the paints, brushes, water to wash the brushes, canvases, a candle, and 2 chairs. My daughter and I prepared the studio for an afternoon of painting.
One of the first changes are the winds, and bursts of showers (the outer bands), and just as predictable is the power outages. We watched the news of the storm as long as we could on the tv until the power went out. Then we kept an eye on it from our phones.
We were lucky, but others were not. The winds shifted just slightly and the storm went up the west coast of Florida rather than the east. But it was still a very large storm and we got a lot of rain, winds, and worst of all the power outage.
As the storm was directly west of us, my daughter and I headed up to my studio, lit the candle, and painted the storm on our canvases. We could barely see the colors we were using, but used the nervous energy we felt and the powerful sounds of the wind and rain as our inspiration.
By morning, the storms had passed. Although we still did not have power, we were able to open the shutters and let the brilliant light into the house. The contrast from one day to the next was very emotional and we worried about what happened on the west coast of Florida. It can take a few days before we know the full extent of damage.
My daughter and I went upstairs to see the paintings we had created at the peak of the storm. Wow….powerful….and full of energy. Paintings can do that, especially if you are the one creating the painting. All the emotion and energy you felt while creating it comes right back to you when you look at it.
Your assignment: A weather event is a great time to capture the energy of the atmosphere and how it makes you feel. A loss, an argument, a stressful day at the office…..all of these carry powerful energy. Pay attention to the powerful energy around an event and make a little time (15 min to 1/2 hour is enought) to capture that energy into a painting. The painting can be very abstract (which is better). When you are “done” walk away from your painting and do not look at it until the next day. In the comments below, tell me about your experience painting the energy of the event. How did you feel looking at the painting the next day when the energy had changed?