For the past year and a half every time a friend and I got together to find some new location to paint, or spend an afternoon at a museum, she would remind me that she wanted to buy my oil painting Bottle and Acorns, and she would talk about the little spikes of paint used to express the tiny air bubbles trapped in the glass. I would always reassure her that I was reserving it for her and to not worry that I would sell it to someone else. She told me she wanted to make payments on it, but due to our complicated lives we didn’t see each other for a few months.
Bottle and Acorns 6×8 oil painting on panel by Brady Allen
And so last month, as we were planning to go outside again to paint, she surprised me by saying she was ready to purchase and to bring the painting. We met at her house and I was excited to see it go to a good home. We didn’t end up painting that day, but we did drive into a wilderness area near her house and up to the top of a mountain searching for a location to paint in the future.
A couple days later, it’s all over the news. Fire!
The whole mountain where we had been just a few days ago was burning. A wild fire was threatening houses, and lives. My friend’s house was right on the edge of the mandatory evacuation zone, and she texted to let me know that a thick black cloud of smoke was enveloping her neighborhood.
The news said that the wind was shifting unpredictably and I texted her back telling her to gather important papers and to get ready in case she had to leave. There was no reply for over an hour, and I was starting to get worried even though the news clearly showed the fire was a good distance from her home.
Then she sent me a reply. She said she had been doing just that, and one of the first things she had packed in her car had been, Bottle and Acorns. I was relieved that she was okay, (fears of smoke inhalation had been going through my mind), and I was extremely flattered that she had considered my painting as one of her must-save possessions, as I knew she had many of her own artworks in her house.
Luckily the evacuation zone was not expanded and with the help of out-of-state fire fighters the wild fire was contained. None of the houses that were threatened caught on fire. And other than the trouble of having to put everything back into a house that smells like smoke, my friend is okay.