Living in two time zones

 Whenever I look at the time, I automatically add 8 hours to figure out the time in Tuscany, Italy. Heather and Michelle, her walking partner, are on a journey from Lucca to Rome, a distance of 400 km. It is much hotter than they would have liked (above 30 degrees most days), but it is unquestionably beautiful. They are staying overnight in a 12th Century monastery that has been converted to a hostel, just southwest of Florence.

I packed up my painting supplies and headed to The Ridge in Okotoks for the annual Baby It's Cold Outside gala. It was a stunning location under a big tent on a ridge on the west side of town. 

As laying down the colour is a potentially messy endeavour, I'm moved my set up off the concrete pad and onto the lawn. This part of the painting process requires me to work flat. Being in the sun, while uncomfortably warm, allowed the paint to dry super quick.

I set myself up in the shade under the tent and started adding trees, first black shapes over top the background colours, then coloured in to turn them into birches.

While the supportive crowd enjoyed a Michelin Chef dinner at The Ridge, I soaked in their energy and kept painting. By 8 pm, as the sun was starting to set, the painting was largely complete.

I was asked to share a few words about the painting and the Byerley family. It was Kolton and Weston Byerley who help me get the painting started last weekend at their home studio. I thought deeply about what I was going to say, though to attempt to capture the exact words now would be impossible. All I remember is I started with the idea of origin stories. 

The origin story of our SEED Home took place at this same event one year ago. Because of conversations that happened around the table at the 2022 gala, Cegen Environmental Group moved in the exciting direction of creating housing solutions with their new division SEED Homes....which lead to...which lead to....which lead to Heather and I being the purchasers of the very first SEED Home. 

The origin story of the painting I was doing was more touching and impactful. The contributions of Kolton and Weston provided the richness in the soil that allowed the trees to reach for the sky.

Stephen Morgan jumped in with an opening bid of $1,000 on the painting, which quickly went up to $2,500. It eventually sold to Graham and Koreen MacLeod for an incredibly generous bid of $3,500.
Stay tuned. I've asked co-creators Kolton and Weston to come up with a title for this piece.  


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