So, I’ve not been blogging as much as I’d planned on, but I had good reason. I was too busy painting, you see I had a deadline to meet, and was working on my largest painting so far… my 9/11 remembrance piece.
9/11 Memorial Art Finished
I managed to finish the painting on time. It is the largest canvas I’ve worked on to date… though I have done larger works for sets on plays. This canvas is 48 inches wide and 24 inches tall, and its size alone has made getting a good clear photograph a challenge. I will eventually get a better photo, though it may have to be taken in parts and stitched together in a photo editor.
At any rate here is the finished painting, though some details may not be visible because of the photo quality.
And here is detail shot of the area with the gold hearts:
The painting explained
I also wrote up a short description to be posted with the painting in the public display, explaining the main though process behind it and some of the symbolism of the piece. I didn’t explain every single detail, but enough to give a general idea of what I was trying to get across, what follows is that description.
Zero Hour: Evolution of American Psyche
By Vicki J. Maheu
This work seeks to depict the mindset of most of America before and after the events of September 11th, 2001. It does not necessarily reflect the mindset of any one individual, so there will of course be aspects with which certain individuals, and certain communities, may not identify.
Before 9/11, the mindset of America seemed very much to be childlike, somewhat naïve of the state of the world and the dangers that many other nations had been facing for many years. America had not had war on her own soil since the Civil War, and was, for the most part, looking ahead with optimism. The rest of the world seemed to be a friendly place. America, in many respects, seemed to have the world on a string, facing a bright future.
Then that infamous Tuesday morning changed everything. On that day 2996 lives were lost. 2606 were lost in and around the Twin Towers, 265 were lost on the four hijacked planes, and 125 lives were lost at the Pentagon. Immediately after, in the shock of what happened, there was a surge of national pride and religious sentiment. Statements made by heroes, by mourners, by clergy, and by politicians became catch phrases for how we tried to see that day. From the plea of a widow that life was short and there was no time for hate, to the stirring call to action of “Lets Roll”, these phrases expressed for us what we were too numb to put into words ourselves.
Eventually though, the shock wore off and the national pride of many wore thin. More than a decade of fighting the vague enemy of “terror” took its toll, and many started wondering what we were fighting for. The world seems to many Americans now as a scary place, an angry place, a place where our blood is shed and where we arm ourselves and shed blood. Many of us look around our own country and instead of seeing a bright future full of plenty, we see bleakness, and the starkness of the cruelty that exists in the world, and often we don’t know whether we should be more afraid of enemies from without, or of each other. Our idealistic American dream seems to many to be just that… a dream, out of touch from reality.
However, we have not quit. We continue on, we are still Americans and we still plan for the future. In the final scene of the painting, the artist intentionally included a field of newly planted crops, to show that we as Americans, while we cannot go back to the naivety of childhood, can still look to the future with hope, and, with God’s help, we can move forward.