Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joplin 2011 Tornado, "Salvation" Commissioned Painting, Contemporary Abstract Painting, Modern Art, Original, Missouri Artist Elizabeth Chapman

May 2012 bring peace and love to all!!

Happy New Year

Acrylic on 36" x 48" x 1.5" canvas
Commission (Sold)

I was contacted by a family in Joplin, Mo., who had gone through the devastation that the May 2011 tornado left behind wondering if I would create a painting for their new home.  Thankfully, they had survived as they had huddled together in the center of their home, but the house had not.  I was so humbled and honored to have been chosen to create a work that they would use as a color palette for their new living area.  This painting is to hang above the fire place.  It will also serve as a reminder of that day and the salvation that they experienced.  

As far as the color palette, Monica suggested that she liked a painting that she saw on my website titled "Fidelity." (which now hangs in my daughter Emma's home, as I've been giving each of our children a painting, and she chose it)  Click here to see an image of it from a past blog entry.  Also, she liked another painting, "Desire" click here, for it's simplicity and the red in it.  It was from these two paintings that I worked with the idea for the design and color for their palette.  They also knew they wanted to title the painting "Salvation".  There was more though..... and I quote with permission from Monica. 

"-As the tornado approached, nine of us huddled together in our tiny laundry room located in the center of our home. Those 9 were: my family (me, my husband, and our 3 children), my in-laws, my brother-in-law, and a friend. One idea... perhaps incorporating something about the number 9 into the painting in some subtle way... maybe using one of the colors in 9 places... or perhaps using one shade 3 times to represent the kids and another shade 6 times to represent the adults. (??) Not a requirement... just an idea.

-As we all took shelter and the storm began to intensify, my daughter and I were praying aloud asking for God's protection and for angels to surround us. A little over half way through the tornado, after much of the front of our house was crushed and/or blown away, the roof was ripped off above us. At that terrifying point, as debris began to fall in on us, I truly gave up every shred of hope for our lives. My humanness was terrified beyond description, but much to my surprise, my spirit was calm and at peace. God felt just a breath away... it was an almost intoxicating, warm, and awe-filled moment. As I waited for the final blow that was sure to kill us all, my thought was... "Just a moment more, and I will finally see the face of Jesus."

-I now have a whole new understanding of and appreciation for Psalm 91:9-16. (note that last word..."Salvation")  :)    -Monica

Right from the start nine squares began emerging as I was painting and I knew these were to represent them in the center of the chaos.  As I continued, those nine areas became less defined and I was so desperately trying to pull them back out as I was finishing the painting.  It was at this point that my husband walked into the studio saw what I was doing and said, "But look, there is a nine right there".  He was pointing to an area in the center of the chaos that has a gold circle and it is subtle!

With the completion of this painting there was much symbolism for me as well.  But, never did I see what this family and friends saw when I sent them the completed image for approval.   They loved it just as it was and told me how they could see the face of Jesus in it.  I have inserted  the image that Monica sent with the superimposed faced, to help me see where they saw this.

Click on image to see both paintings side by side.

Below is an insert of an article about this tornado along with an image of the path of destruction that it took, although I don't feel that there are any words that can truly describe it:

May 2011 Tornadoes Second Deadliest Month

The first 3 weeks May 2011 Tornadoes were not too bad. However, that all changed on May 21, 2011 and lasted until May 26, 2011! The worst and deadliest tornado during this time ocurred in Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011. It was classified as an EF-5 Tornado.
The Joplin, Missouri Tornado killed 141 people and injured 900. It is recorded as the deadliest tornado in the US since April 9, 1947 (Woodward Oklahoma Tornado killed 181). Massive destruction tore apart large parts of the city of Joplin.

Street after May 2011 Tornado in Joplin Missouri

1 comment:

Bren said...

What an amazing story, and to paint something as a reminder of God's care well that makes this piece something truly special.
May 2012 be full of good things for you and those you love.