Monday, July 20, 2009

"Twilights Last Breath"

This painting was difficult for me. First of all, I had no idea what I was getting into. This painting tried my patience to such an extent that it actually cured me of my Attention Deficit Disorder.

It was my first time working with a canvas of this size, my first sunset, my first waterfall and my first attempt at sunset illumination. I quickly discovered to my dismay that here was no short cut to achieving the look and feel I was after. I had to paint out each and every tree and branch then go over them again to add lighting and dimension. The trees alone took nearly three months and I swear the canvas was growing larger with every stroke.

At times, I could hardly paint for five minutes strait without wanting to run out of the house screaming, stabbing myself in the face with my paint brush.

In the end, it took me almost four months to complete, and I’m happy with the end results.

This painting is also very personal to me as my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer days after I started it. As soon as we could my wife and I drove down to spend time with her. She was given six to twelve months to live so we wanted to be with her while she still had the energy.

I took a picture of my progress on this piece to show her. She has always been an artist, heart and soul, and loved my work. She was so happy, and so proud to hear that I started painting. At the time all I had finished where the trees silhouettes, but she loved it anyways and couldn’t wait to see it finished.

The visit went well and my wife and I came home. About a month or so later I completed the painting. Then my mom was told her cancer had stopped growing and could now be managed. It was incredible news, I felt like I had been holding my breath for months on end and could finally breathe. We were overjoyed, if not in a little bit of denial.

Nobody wants to believe that their loved one is dying, especially a parent.
We clung to this hope of a second chance, wanting to believe the danger had passed and refusing to let go.

And for a while she seemed to improve. My Mom and I talked often, but not every day like we did before the "good news" came. My painting was done now and she wanted to see it. We would talk on the phone, and I would promise to put it on our blog so she could.

Then things got busy and I still had not posted the picture. I remember thinking, "I will do it this evening, or tomorrow, I have time now."

One day I got a voice message from my step dad. My Mom is at Mercy Hospital. Her heart, lungs and lymph nodes are swollen with cancerous fluid, her heart rate is exceeding 200 bpm and she is unconscious. A DNR had been signed and she was being prepped for a surgical procedure that will buy her two days at most. Two days for loved ones to come say goodbye.

So we packed up and rushed down to California. We drove straight through, arriving at Mercy Medical Center the next evening.

Hours later my stepdad and I held her in our arms as she passed away.

The nature of this piece, combined with the events that have transpired during its completion have led me to name it "Twilights Last Breath".

"Twilights Last Breath"
This is my fourth piece.
Its 2' tall by 4' wide.
It took me 4 months to complete.


  1. That is a great painting! - Chad Hewitt

  2. Wow! Thanks for sharing this. So touching. Your work is simply amazing. Keep it up!

  3. What a beautiful painting Erik, and a wonderful tribute to your mother. She would be SO PROUD of you. I hope you continue painting as you have such a gift. Hopefully, one day I will be able to purchase one of your paintings from you.

    Aunt Cathy