Supporting our First Responders


Yesterday afternoon I was supposed to be up on the roof of the Eagle Ridge Tim Horton's, painting a panel of the tent housing the five local firefighters who are doing the Fort McMurray Fire Department's annual 100-hour rooftop campout.


My plan was to do a portrait of my raven friend, as he represents, for me, something significant that changed after the fire.  Before our community and our lives were threatened last May, I didn't give ravens a passing glance.  After we came home, especially during those early hours and days when barely anybody was here, all life seemed more precious than before.  I started noticing ravens and the beautiful sounds they were making. I started trying to make those beautiful sounds back, to strike up a dialogue. One particular raven has been coming to visit and chat with me at Birdsong Studio almost every day.  We have developed quite a bond; he even brings me gifts from time to time: little colourful trinkets (garbage) that he drops just outside my door.

Anyway, back to yesterday.  It was cold, too cold for my paints and for my body, which has been fighting a nasty cold and flu for the better part of a week.  So, I sent firefighter Ryan Carnochan a suggestion for something different.

"What if I paint my raven on a canvas in my studio this afternoon," I wrote in a text to Ryan's position up on the roof.  "I will sell it to the highest bidder by 4 pm tomorrow (today) and then cut your charity a cheque for the amount of the sale."

He was delighted with the idea.

I had committed the time to our firefighters anyway, so I was happy to stay warm and still contribute.

I had a quick nap after lunch (a coveted daily necessity) then hopped to it.  The painting came together nicely through the afternoon.  The subject even flew into the yard as it was nearing completion.


We had a nice chat, and I even brought the painting out to get his opinion.  If his glug-glugging sounds are any indication, he appreciated the direction it was heading.


I finished up the portrait yesterday evening and posted it on my Russell Thomas Art Facebook page.  The bids came in fast and furious through the evening.  The person with the highest offer at exactly 4 pm today will get to give it a home. I will be so pleased to present a nice cheque to Ryan and his team to support their efforts.


My Raven Friend, No. 2
24" x 24"
acrylic on canvas





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