It's been over a year since the horrible tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I remember watching the news about this event and feeling shocked, appalled, and tremendously sick to my stomach. Tears rolled down my face. "How could a person do such a horrendous act?", I asked myself. Over the next several weeks, while reflecting on this abominable event, it came clear to me that childhood innocence is under attack. Such sorrow filled my heart and still weighs heavy on my soul. My childhood had its bumps and I received many bruises but nothing like what children face today. Terrorism, abuse, neglect, sickness, violence, poverty, and war are real and shatter the innocence that should be cherished and protected as far as is humanly possible.
Just a few months later, the bombing at the Boston Marathon rang throughout the world. This marathon was to be a healing event for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary. It was dedicated to these children and adults who had lost their lives during that awful occurrence. Family members of Sandy Hook were invited to attend. Special seating was given to these honored individuals. But instead of it being a moment for therapeutic relief it became a weapon for devastating pain and heartbreak which re-opened and aggravated their tender wounds. I cried again while watching this news.
I had already painted a few children before these ghastly incidents had occurred, but not really with a specific purpose or meaning. I have always enjoyed children's love and passion for life and I like seeing the light that shines from their inner spirit. I wanted to capture that light, so I painted some children. It was right before the bombing that I decided that I wanted to paint more children and this time for the specific purpose of capturing their innocence on canvas. I decided to support my paintings with a story. I would immerse myself within a childlike quality, such as determination, resilience, imagination, and curiosity, and then write a story that would support that trait. My painting would then emerge from a scene based off of that story.
I have now completed nine paintings. I have four more in the works and plan on continuing to paint even more as stories continue to fill my mind. These paintings are dedicated to childhood innocence and honor those children who have lost their innocence through no fault of their own. My heart goes out to them, their families, and to the communities that are affected by such appalling acts.
Below you can view four of my recent works.