Thursday, February 26, 2015

Morgan Fire on Mount Diablo as Inspiration for the After the Fire Paintings. Special Exhibit Honoring our Firefighters Pleasanton Firehouse Arts Center

In September of 2013 ,the largest wildfire in decades began on the eastern part of Mount Diablo and crossed the mountain's South side, directly above where I live in Danville. Here is what I could see from my neighborhood that morning.





Driving around Danville as the day went on I could see the fire advance and the battle the firefighters were in.
This is a plane filled with pink fire retardent dropping it over the fire:





The fire burned all the way over to Summit Road. This shows a manzantia exploding in flames on the far left.

I live between the fire and the route the firefighters took to their camp in Dublin and saw many fire trucks traveling back and forth on the days they fought the fire. Their hard work was heroic and inspiring. I don't paint figures but if I did they would be a great subject.
 I am happy to be exhibiting my paintings of the aftermath of the fire along with Vincent Liu's  series "Courage" honoring our firefighters.

I went up to Mount Diablo to explore the burned area, it was like the moon, all charcoal grey and black standing charred trees. When the first rains came they revealed a changed panorama, including a lovely new band of terracotta pink , exposed chert soil. Chert Soil is fossilized tiny marine creatures. My interest in the geology of Mount Diablo led me to start a series of paintings documenting this exposed swatch and how it changed the mountain's appearance from a distance. These are the painting in the series about that.






As I visited the burn zone, I became interested in the way the vegetation was recovering. I don't know much about the plants and trees but it was wonderful to see how the plants are clearly adapted to fire, the root systems survive and the plants are regrowing faster than I would believe possible. The new growth is a lovely bright yellow green that creates a wonderful contrast with the soil.
Here are the paintings in the burn zone showing plants areas regrowing:




This is a border of the burnt area, showing a fire break created by the fire crews. 



Many of the After the Fire paintings are on Exhibit now at the Pleasanton Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave. I am honored to be a part of this tribute to our Firefighters
There will be a reception on March 11, 7 to 9 PM. I would love to see you there.

Update March 12:

There was an article in the Contra Costa Times today about this exhibit

http://www.contracostatimes.com/my-town/ci_27683474/tri-valley-e-pleasanton-art-exhibit-pays-homage



Some Photos  of the exhibit





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