I had thought it would be about 20 paintings that would get just a little more work, but it will be closer to 60. Here are about 50 that are now finished. One by one I will rescan them and replace the images on the website with the updated version.
Over the past year when the paintings were on display, I would spend quiet times at the computer monitor we had so visitors could look up firefighters who had died in the line of duty. One by one I would type in the names of firefighters on the wall and read the biographies their families had written. Each time I looked one up, I also saw a slightly better version of the photo I had used for reference, with more detail than was in my painting. Some of them made me wince a little as I could see the difference between that better photo and my painting. So now that I have the chance again for improvement, I am doing it.
Notice I am again painting them upside down. This time my reference picture is a print-out of that firefighter’s page on the Fallen Heroes section of the NFFF’s website.
This is about more than better reference pictures, though. As I have mentioned many times, Better Angels made me a better painter too. When I look at the wall I can see the earlier paintings. I can see the improvements and refinements learned along the way and I want to bring it to all the paintings. Practice. As an artist, it is also interesting to me that my eye has also changed. Literally there are things I see in these paintings and how they are painted that I wasn’t able to see 4000 hours ago when I began painting them. I believe being able to see differently is directly connected to being able to paint differently.
I will finish the last of the repainting this week. And not a moment too soon. Because they need to dry so I can rescan them. I will be creating templates so the Better Angels paintings can be used as nametags for 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs. This is something I have been hoping to do since I saw my first Stair Climb a year ago in Baltimore at Firehouse Expo. The problem had always been that I need to retain control of the digital images. It took prodding from Jeremy in charge of the Dallas Stair Climb for me to realize if I create the template, I can customize it for any Climb who wants and get them printed here. Simple answer to the simple problem.
If other Stair Climbs are interested in using the paintings in their name tag badges, give me a shout. I will be able to customize the back of these 3″ x 5″ laminated tags with your Climb’s info. More pictures soon. I will also be making about 10 banners for the Dallas Climb that can hang in their stairwell. On these the firefighters will be organized by company. More later on that too. Meanwhile I have to hurry up with this repainting so I can spend a month on graphic design!
Also, I will write about this soon, but the paintings are going next to Colorado Springs!!!!!!!!!