In the summer of 2006 I worked for forestry Alberta as a Fire Lookout Tower Observer. This meant I lived in isolation, 40 km from the nearest road. My food was helicoptered in. I watched for forest fires, and called in the helicopters to put it out if one sparked up.
I don’t read much. I am not that great at it. But i do appreciate a good book. This is why I usually only read books that are recommended, as I don’t seem to have the desire to read tons of books just to find the gems. perhaps this will change with time, we’ll see.
At the Fire Tower, I read a book called “Blue Like Jazz.” This book was recommended to me by a friend. It was a good book about the author’s life and the insights he had come across in his journey. I like these types of stories.
In this book, the author (Donald Miller) wrestles through life searching for answers along the way. I liked his raw honesty. In the middle of the book, he says, “the more I climbed out of my pat answers, the more invigorating the view, the more my heart entered into worship.” I loved this. I dont think this was just for people who worship, not just for people who love God, not just for people with rigid world views, not just for people who don’t care, but for everyone. The idea of letting yourself loosen your grip enough to wrestle, enough to consider, enough to un-believe, enough to believe, is amazing.
This was my inspiration behind this painting. I call it “CLIMB OUT”
When I came out of the fire tower, I was part of a couple art shows and displayed my new piece. A friend, who was starting up a local art magazine featured me in one of his issues. At the magazine release party, the lounge suggested I keep my paintings in their restaurant for the next week. As an artist, I jumped at the idea for prolonged exposure.
A week later, I came back to pick up my art, and my painting was missing. It had been stolen. GONE! One of my paintings has been stolen!! A rather odd compliment, but I had wished the thief would have just given me a handshake instead.
I soon realized that the Lounge was going through management changes, and soon after the business had gone under. This made me suspicious: was this an inside job, or did someone random just walk out with my painting. To this day, I still have no idea what happened. I lost hope.
5 years later, I received an email that said:
“l think l have your CLIMB OUT painting.
Got at garage sale this summer.
When on net to look up painting,
Seen it was stolen,and the video of you painting it.”
I emailed this man, and he called me back. I met him today to retrieve my painting. He was a nice man, and I thanked him for his honesty. He said he had bought my painting at a garage sale on his way home from work one day in the summer of 2011. He remembered watching City TV where Bridgette Ryan interviewed me about my art. He said the style of my art reminded him of the painting he had bought at the garage sale. He then began searching my name online to see if there was a correlation. There was, and he saw that this painting he collected had in fact been stolen 5 years earlier. He told me that he didn’t want it if it was “hot,” and decided to contact me right away. Thank you good sir.
On my drive back, this made me think. Art is a funny thing. Someone can like it so much they will steal to have it. Others will find it in garage sale and trade loose change for it. Throughout its life, its worth changes depending on who owns it.
This painting began with a meaning, a story. Since its creation it has taken on a journey of its own, stories and experiences I will never know.