Train and Road through Mesa. Oil on Linen. 12 x 24.
This is an early painting from last winter and one of the first I painted when I returned to painting full-time. I painted this scene because my aunt and uncle had a farm near here and this stretch of the world is their special place. They raised their 4 kids here and all of them were deeply involved in the community, from the school board to the fire district.
Wednesday their son, my cousin Chet and the fire chief in his region, died while fighting a brushfire on the Wahluke slopes. Today is his memorial service. This painting is about a mile from where he grew up and where my uncle Don still farms.
Chet is younger than me and the first cousin, in a big, big family of dozens of cousins to die. So I've been thinking about life and what it brings us. I've decided 3 things in the past couple of days:
- Always choose kindness and generosity. Focus on that choice.
- Reach out to people and let them know that they're special and they matter. Thank them.
- Do what you love.
My sisters and I and our cousins will be there today to honor Chet's life and what we'll see is a local community overwhelmed with both sadness and with hilarious stories about Chet. He was 46.