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I started on this painting in March 2020 and I finished on July 20, 2021. I worked on it off and on it for a year and a half, mostly late at night and early mornings, during the weekdays and stared at it during the day when I could.

For some time, I wanted to do a painting of a tree that looks like a stained glass window as part of the tree series I’ve been working on for years. I started working on this painting about a week or so into the Covid lockdown. After getting the tree base and the leaves, petals and cardinal painted, I decided to do somewhat of hybrid scene by adding a slightly more realistic sky and grass.

The base of the tree is inspired by an image of a stained glass tree that I found on the web. Once I decided to go with dogwood blossoms, I got to reminiscing about my time at UofL during the Spring and how I'd stare out my classroom's windows and watch the dogwoods sway in the wind as the sun beamed down just outside the Bingham Humanities building. During these periods of “Spring Fever” I’d always sit by a window no matter if I had done so during the semester. I couldn’t concentrate and wanted to be outside desperately and most of all not be in class. The cardinal represents my time at UofL. I wanted to convey that all-consuming longing to be outside by having the tree both be behind and in front of the window's metal rods.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize that everyone (including myself) was feeling a collective form of Spring Fever during the time of Covid as well.

Trees, as you know, represent life. Blooming trees are transitional in nature. This damn pandemic has to be transitional as well. I decided to have some of the petals blow upwards into the rays of the sun becoming a metaphor for life transcending to death and this loss of life still continues even to today.

Lastly, I have a small single dandelion that has traditionally represented health, perseverance, endurance and determination and hope as well. The year 2020 was a hard on everyone and although I lost acquaintances, friends and loved ones during the pandemic, life still has to go on and we have to push on with the hope for things to return to some form of normalcy.

With every painting I do, it really is a journey for me. This journey took 1 1/2 years to finish. I’ve taken a few journeys with paintings that were much (much) longer but most are shorter. I tell my art students that in art, it is all about the journey and not necessarily the end result. Why do artists create? Creating is how we process our world and this is what our personal growth is centered around. As an artist, it really is important to ask oneself, what did you learn from doing this work of art? For me more specifically, what did I learn about myself and what did I learn about the art of painting? 

Spring Fever 2020

Oil on Canvas - 24"x36"

Finished 2021

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