Michael Divine

When the Smoke Cleared

So the past couple of weeks at our home in the Northern California have been challenging. We moved an hour north of Napa back in December and, after the wettest winter on record, we had the hottest (and driest) summer on record which led to the worst fires, you guessed it, on record.

Our air was thick with smoke and we woke every morning examining the current fire maps. We were rather surrounded – to the north, south, and west at times less than ten miles from the brunt of them. When everything is like a tinderbox and winds may shift at any moment, that ten miles doesn’t seem so far. Some friends transported all of our artwork to Oakland for safekeeping – ‘just in case. Our bags remained packed next to the cat carriers by the front door.

Thankfully “just in case” didn’t come to pass for us. Many others though lost homes, businesses, and even lives. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures – of Santa Rosa, Napa, etc. The swath of destruction left by the fire is heart breaking. These extremes are the tangible examples of what climate change looks like and the reality we live in. We’re incredibly grateful that our home, gardens, and lives are still intact.

The paintings above were made while our air was thick and the light was this weird golden rose color from the smoke filtered sunlight. It was hard to relax into the general painting flow so I worked on some free-flowing pieces, painting over canvases that remained at home.

Here’s to the rain of the coming autumn 🙂

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