I've been painting houses on fire. I'm not exactly sure why.
I was at the tail end of one of the recent 48 Days of Creative Devotion programs, and I decided to paint a sweet little landscape for my daily devotion. Along the way I added a sinking house.
The next day I painted another landscape and posted it to the forum, thinking I was done. But, later I decided it was too bourgeois with the mansion overlooking the water and all, so I added a thick plume of smoke pouring out of the window. That was much more interesting.
Now I'm on a roll with the houses on fire. What I love about them is the myriad interpretations of what they might mean.
Many folks have believed them to be metaphors about the state of our country. Other folks have seen them as spiritual symbols of transformation. And, some have mentioned environmental destruction and wildfires. There's also something about not feeling safe in one's home. And, perhaps, by painting both mansions and shacks on fire there is room for thinking about socioeconomics, or about how tragedy is the Great Equalizer.
Me, I'm still not exactly sure what they're trying to say, but I'm enjoying them nonetheless. On a practical level, there's something really satisfying about the juxtaposition of the hard lines of architecture and the loose, organic nature of fire.
Practicing how to capture the concept of "heat" through visual means has been a fun challenge too. The colors go from "white hot" to yellows, oranges, and reds, then give way to thick, gray-black smoke. If I'm doing my job, the viewer will feel this heat coming through the work.