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Bug's Eye View of a Tornado

Oil on Canvas - 24"x36"

Finished August 29, 2000

Concept:

At the time of this painting, my wife and I lived in an apartment with our infant son. The evening I started this painting, my wife Brandi was working late, Brandon was sleeping soundly in his crib. While sitting at my easel in our living room/dining area I was staring at this blank canvas trying to come up with an idea to paint. I remember it had been raining particularly hard for hours so I had the tv on in the background. The local news declared a tornado watch for our area of town which was always a serious concern. I called Brandi at work to let her know of the watch and she reassured me that she was safe and would have everyone take shelter in the freezer of her store if she heard sirens. To get my mind off the weather, I sat back down at my easel and began to stare at the canvas. Being narrow in width and tall in its height, I began to think of painting a tornado to channel all of my current nervous energy into – but what direction could I take it in?

Many thoughts came to mind. My train of thought went something like this: Tornados are scary. Tornados are huge. We, as humans, are tiny in comparison to tornados. We are nothing compared to the power of nature. In fact, we are like tiny  bugs crawling around on the ground. What would a tornado look like to a bug? As humans, we can see how a tornado reaches up to the clouds in the sky but to a bug a tornado must look like it goes all the way to the stars. Contrasting bugs with a tornado, that could be cool. But not scary bugs, they need to be harmless bugs...something like lady bugs. Set the horizon line low, needs to be from a bug's view point. Still, it's missing something regarding the bugs. I need to have them be self aware, like people are, of the oncoming danger. If I was a bug, and comprehended what was about to happen, how would I react. Would I cling to something, huddle with others, hide and shelter in a hole, or just sit and watch and wait for the inevitable?

By the time my wife walked in the door around midnight, Brandon was still asleep, the storm had passed without any serious damage to the area and I had the painting's composition pretty much worked out and was ready to relax. 

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