In Giverny, France I saw a memorial to seven British aviators from World War II at L’église Sainte-Radegonde. In the region of Normandy at Honfleur, signs were posted everywhere saying “Welcome to Our Liberators.” I visited a few weeks after the 70th Anniversary of D-day.
At the Bed and Breakfast Inn where I stayed, a jeep from World War II stood by a lake.
Back in Florida at Fort Myers Beach, I toured the Mound House, the site of the extinct Calusa tribe.
Some artists believe we artists should only paint what is beautiful to help people escape the harsh realities of everyday life. I think Monet said something like that. So in Giverny I painted flowers instead of graves. In Honfleur, I painted the port. In Fort Myers Beach, I painted a building.
In Chicago, I thought of the artist JMW Turner when I saw the Chicago skyline emerging from the fog. The ruins in Ferguson were the farthest thing from my mind though they were constantly in the headlines.
My pastor once preached “What’s Happening Ain’t What’s Going On.” My art is often like that.
Do you think artists should speak to the times they live in?