This was an assignment in Advanced Illustration. We were told to illustrate a memory that was important to us, but we had to do in first-person, as if the viewer were looking through our eyes, and some part of our body had to be visible. The memory could be major or something so minor no one else would think it was important--as long as the memory was important to us.
I chose a memory from when I was about four years old. There was an explosion in the gas pipeline several miles away from my house (actually, it was more than fifty miles away, but I always thought it was much closer). I didn't really understand what was happening at the time--I was too young to know anything about pipelines or gas explosions. All I knew was that the whole sky was blood red, my parents were scared, and I thought it must be the end of the world.
I remember my parents talking about whether we should go somewhere else or stay where we were, and because I thought the world was ending, I ran back inside to "save" some of my stuffed animals (which, to me, were not just toys--they were real). I remember running back outside, stuffed animals in the crook of my arm, and looking up at the glowing red sky, wondering what was going to happen to my parents and me.
When I first decided to paint this memory, I couldn't remember exactly what the stuffed animals were that I had run back inside to get. It was extremely important to me to be as accurate as possible, so I spent a whole afternoon in my parents' attic, searching through boxes of old toys. I knew I'd know them when I saw them, and finally I found them--it was Bambi, Dumbo, and Pinocchio. :-) I also went back to the place where we used to live to take reference photos from the spot where I would have been standing. This memory has been inside me for over twenty years, so I had to get it right if I was going to do it at all.
This was my second attempt at acrylics. My camera completely destroyed all detail in the foreground, but my favorite part is the sky, anyway.
Date: February 2008
Tools: Acrylics on illustration board
Dimensions: 15" x 20"