Love 3rd Edition Commemorative Hurricane Series
“Love”, 3rd piece in the 2020 Commemorative Hurricane Series
The focal point of this painting is the famous fleur de lis etching. Woven within the Fleur de Lis is the “Tree of Life” and “Full Circle”. All three elements were originally engravings created between 2005-2006 when Alexander spent her early professional years in Pennsylvania. Alexander recalls creating these pieces as SWLA was experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Rita.
The “Full Circle” signifies the spiritual evolution that our souls undergo as we are refined through trials. The “Tree of Life” signifies the roots we must plant in our values and truth so we can stay grounded on our journey. When she etched the tree, she hid 20 hearts in the piece. You will see that the tree roots lead to a book at the bottom center of the painting.
This book symbolizes, first, the important principles of faith, hope and love, all of which inspired this historic series. It is also meant to symbolize how history is being written as we strive to rebuild our community. Our roots, skills, and heart is something for the history books.
The book rests on the rocky ground drawn in from the 2nd painting in the series “Faith”. As “Faith” leads to love it begins our journey to healing. To the bottom right one can find a tree growing from the cracks signifying our ability to find beauty in the worst circumstances.
The tree is growing love meaning that our love for our home and is what keeps us fighting.
Alexander painted the butterfly and dragonfly in the piece to represent our spiritual growth. The dragonfly symbolizes change and transformation. The butterfly is also spiritually significant in the sense that it signifies adaptability. All of the these traits are significant to our community as we are adapting to a life that seems so unfamiliar.
At the base of tree, one can find the words “love” and “lives”. During Thanksgiving, Paige, Hannah and Gabe created the word love with a collection of rocks they found while exploring in the mountains of Arkansas.
The idea of drawing inspiration from nature is part of the artist’s way of expressing their internal truths.
If one follows dry ground to the bottom left of the painting, you will find the I-10 bridge, which signifies how we are bridging the gap from devastation to restoration. Along the bridge, one can find the heartbeat as an overpass.
The concept of the bridge lies in the idea that we are headed home but home is mysterious.
The bridge morphs into piano keys which lead to the musician East Forest. Forest creates music that resonates deeply with the artist. “10 Laws” is a song that speaks to the bare necessities of survival, which were necessary for the citizens of SWLA after Hurricane Laura made the community nearly uninhabitable. The people learned to survive for the love of their family and community. The bridges leads to another tree rooted in love that emanates throughout the painting.
The concept of morphing the bridge and music keys draws into the idea that we are creating our song as we travel down familiar roads. We are creating a melody for our hearts to move through these tough times.
The artist has a deep affection for trees. The winds of the storm uprooted hundreds of historic trees, so she wanted to give them life again in this piece. To the left of the tree of love are the blue roofs. Driving through Southwest Louisiana, you couldn’t avoid noticing the significant damage to the homes.
Rising above the blue roofs are the American Flag and the Louisiana Flag, driving home the significance of our love for our country and our community. Regardless of what we suffer, our will to rise overcomes it all. To the left of the flag is a silhouette of a loving couple dancing on a tight rope.
During the most trying times, our hearts may be tested, but together we face the challenge and help each other move through the difficulties that lie ahead. There is a tear that drops from the tight rope calling attention to the pain we may face as we fight for our love.
The tight rope leads to a painting of the globe which rests upon the Fleur de Lis. This signifies the value of love for our families leading to love for all. Healing starts at home and ushers out into the world.
To the top left of the painting, you will find the artist’s rendition of the Michaelangelo “Creation of Adam” hands. God’s Hand leads to the artist’s hand. The artist’s brush is emanating with a sound wave expressing the idea that God spoke us into existence and upon His word we create our own reality.
The inspiration in this design is that we are all artists painting a new reality as we rebuild our lives. We are creating a new city. You will find the blood dripping from the paint brush which expresses the pain we use to bring life back to our community. There is a shadow of the brush to the north and south. This shadow signifies where we’ve been and where we are going.
In the moonlight, you will find two children swinging from God’s hand. This references the love Christ had for children expressed in Mathew 19:14. Inspired to give back, Alexander is donating part of the proceeds for this piece to the SWLA Disaster Relief fund in order to give the children who lost everything gifts this Christmas season.
The significance of swinging into the moon reminds us also to have trust in the process and to find a light in the midst of it all.
The shooting starts to the right of the hands represent the storms that have passed. The spiritual meaning of a shooting star is that life changing events are on the way and you shall walk in your destiny.
They are a reminder that from death, we can find life. Within the background, the painting is set in a poetic nights sky.
Alexander pulled yet another original piece into this area of the painting to pay homage to her early work.
You can see her unique style expressed in the star and double moon.
The artist believes the top portion of this piece bears resemblance to Salvador Dalis surrealism style.
The paint brush in the artist’s hand is a number 5. She created that particular part of the painting in 2005 for a Baton Rouge Festival, being that Baton Rouge is French for red stick.
Upon the horizon, you will see the Capitol One building or the CM tower. This has become an iconic symbol of our area representing the extent of destruction we faced during Hurricane Laura. Forever we will hold this image as a reminder of our history. Shards of the glass that blew out of the tower will be placed on the framed versions of the prints.
The image of the CM tower used in this painting was created by Michael J Vandyke.
Lets reference other spiritually significant portions of this paint, such as the Sacred Heart at the base of the Fleur de Lis right above the Lilly. One can find the sacred heart in all three pieces tying the heart of the series together.
The lily signifies our trust in the Lord as referenced in Mathew 6:28, “And why are you anxious… Consider the lilies of the field.” This is a reminder to believe that we are being taken care of regardless of what the circumstances look like.
One can also find a honey bee resting on the world at the northern point of the Fleur de Lis. The bee represents the wise use of nature and the power of hard work.
To the left of the world is a hummingbird. The hummingbirds spiritual meaning is that of enjoyment of life and lightheartedness. It’s a reminder to find joy in the midst of the sorrow we have faced.
On the grass below the hummingbird is a large number of stick figures. Alexander’s has a deep affection for these types of figures and uses them quite frequently in her work. These in particular were also part of a piece created in 2005. They represent unity and strength in numbers.
Just below them, in the lake one can find boats resting in the water. These elements were added to give respect to our heritage as a coastal community.
In whole, this historic piece of art was created to give reverence to our spiritual journey and our rise out of the valley.
“Hope”, the 1st piece in the series explored the chaotic state we were in right after Laura hit.
“Faith” drew is into the idea that standing up and walking through the valley was our only choice. Even though we dont know what lies ahead we have to have faith that the future is bright.
The perspective of “Love” is about rising up from the valley through our hearts strength. It’s about a knowing that through our love for our families and community we will create a brighter future. We will take ownership and walk courageously into the next stage of this journey towards wholeness and healing.
The page is turning because we have what it takes to write the most impactful story of redemption.
Our time is coming.
“The poem to the top right is written by Paige Elliott Vidrine and reads:
Our faith has picked us up
And given us hope to rise
Creating something new
With the Rubble left behind
The ground shook beneath our feet
And brought us to our knees
The strength it took to rise
Is truly beyond belief
We will bridge the gap that's left
Filled by the Spirit from above
Guided by our truth
And driven by your Love
The Southwest Louisiana Disaster Relief Fund and their President Michael Boyer have announced a huge Christmas event in Lake Charles on December 20th to Help folks for the holidays. Their Hope during this event is to give out a toy to every Southwest Louisiana child who is in need this holiday season. A part of the "Love" proceeds will go to assist the Relief Fund to help bring joy to the children.
Each signed print will come with a Certificate of Authenticity certifying that your edition number. This Certificate should be protected with the print to maintain the value for future reference.
Your number is unique to you, and you will have the first option for protecting your number for future limited edition pieces.
THOUGHTS MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE
I don’t know if I’m numb or I’m getting stronger at this point. Maybe both. The anxiety is easing slowly. I’m adjusting
Every day you drive by destruction you hadn’t noticed. Damn... is usually my response.
Debris is still piled high on the sides of the road. My friend got into a accident that flipped her vehicle because road signs are still missing.
Even the most passionate and driven people I know have faced depression head on. Many people have turned to alcohol to cope and I don’t blame them.
I don’t know if I’m numb, emotionally checked out or what but I’m finally feeling like I can breathe.
Lots of people are still out of their homes because finding a construction crew who can get it right the first time is hard if you can find one at all. Their waiting lists are long.
Insurance is hit or miss. For those that do get paid, more than likely they get a quarter of what the contractor quotes.
So off to work we go to cover the cost. It leaves so little time to clean up the wreckage in our yards.
If your home is in good shape, it feels like “I don’t want to go outside today!”
But we do.
Christmas lights are going up all around the city. Blue roofs are lit up and honestly I love it.
We are all searching for normal. It’s hard to find. If you didn’t get a lot of damage you tend to apologize when you tell people.
When you want a night out, you’ll most likely have to get on a wait list. Restaurants who could barely fill seats are now packed because they are fortunate enough to be the few that are open.
Life is different. Emotionally it’s hard to bare. But somehow we are pulling ourselves through. Somehow we are climbing out of this. It’s honestly a miracle. There’s a lot of pain and frustration.
Sometimes it feels like you just want to give up, but you know you can’t. We are hurting. Good people are homeless. Hard working men and women are rebuilding what’s left.
We are bridging the gap and creating a new City. Moving forward it feels like a mystery. History is being written as we tackle the challenge that lies ahead.
We are painting a masterpiece with our hearts and our willingness to push on.
It seems as though we are all artists at this point. Building something from nothing. Taking what’s left and doing what we can to bring our city back to life.
The heartbeat. We are beating on its chest.
It takes a lot of faith, hope and hard work to get back on your feet
On top of it all, community leaders and friends are catching a virus that we have no time to fear.
People are dying. People are fighting. We have a city on its knees.
But most of all, we have a city of God fearing, faithful people who love one another.
We love our community and together we are working our way out of this. The future is better than the past. Sometimes the ground has to shake for us to make the changes we always needed to.
We are creators of our destiny now.
Paige Elliott Vidrine