Thoughts behind the Washington D. C. Commission.
This painting was commissioned by Patrice Comey, wife of former FBI Director, James Comey. The painting was of one of her cherished views of Washington D. C. from the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The fact that this painting was for Patrice and her husband James Comey brought a significance to the painting and provoked powerfully charged images. I couldn’t help but think of the challenges that the Comey family would be up against in helping defend the free world. This painting was created in the spring/summer of 2015, James Comey was still new to being the Director of the FBI, there was plenty of unrest but the true storm of a Trump Whitehouse was yet to unfold. While working on the studies along the Potomac River I heard a 21-gun salute during a funeral at the Arlington Cemetary as helicopters flew overhead. That day the Capitol building had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat, Police violence against African Americans was all over the news and the Supreme Court passed down its decision to legalize same-sex marriage. While developing the studio painting, one of my sons traveled 211 miles through the wilderness on the John Muir trail while another son joined in an action to protest Arctic drilling and my third son bought a Jeep that only gets 18-21 miles to the gallon. In the painting I depicted a stormy sunrise, however I wanted the painting to be hopeful so I included a clearing with the sun shining. There is a storm cloud over the Capitol, as well as scaffolding, a metaphor for where Congress was then and unfortunately still is today. The light is gleaming off the Kennedy building as a bright note because it is the center of arts and culture for our nation. A golden light shines on the Lincoln memorial to signify our country’s ideals that give us hope and the direction for a better way.
I only became aware of my painting serving as the backdrop for James Comey’s August 23, 2020 interview on Face the Nation when I first read my messages from viewers that reached out:
“Saw Mr. Comey on Face the Nation. The painting struck me like a thunderbolt. Found it and you! Magnificent!
I lived in Arlington, DC and Alexandria from 1958 until just a few years ago and had never seen a good painting or photograph, for that matter, until yours.”Sarah U
“Just saw your stunning painting this morning on Face the Nation during the extended James Comey interview! What a breath-taking view of our Capitol! The dramatic clouds in the sky and moody reflection in the waters gave me goose bumps! I googled some key words and discovered the commissioned painting quite quickly. I’m not sure what any of the details of the interview were about because I was so enthralled by your beautiful painting.!”SPS