Remembrance day is tomorrow, and I wanted to share what it means to me, and how much art can connect people all over the world.
A few years ago I painted this for my dad, and what happened next was something I could have never expected.
I envisioned a paper airplane in the sky while I was creating this. I feel it symbolizes innocence and the memory of war. The poppies are mourning, bowing their heads.
Now, let me introduce you to my Grandfather.
My dad’s dad, Clifford Battison Murray, died in World War II. Here is a write up about my Grandfather and his aircrew that went down on Feb 20 1944: http://www.aircrewremembered.com/raf1944/2/bowenjack.html
He was Pilot 2. It’s so crazy to see how young most of these men were when they made such a huge sacrifice! My Grandfather was only 26 and his wife had just had her second child, my dad, a few months before- he didn’t even get to meet his new baby.
At the time that I first posted about Remembrance Day, My little brother had just finished up his basic training. Now he is a Combat Engineer, and I still can’t help but think about what other young men seem to be doing with their lives. I understand that not everyone feels they should be in the military, but thinking about my grandfather, and reading about all the people who gave up so much just so they could liberate others is really intense. It sure is a lot different than prestiging in Call of Duty.
So, what happened after I gave my dad this painting?
After I posted about this painting 3 years ago, I was contacted by someone who was claiming to be a relative. This was very strange and exciting for me, because we were not in contact with or aware of hardly any relatives growing up. He found me because I linked the Aircrew Remembrance Society, who shared the above story of my grandfather, in my blog post. The ACRS added my painting to their site, and a long-lost cousin who was doing some family tree research happened upon it. He was able to contact this girl who claimed to be Clifford Battison Murray’s granddaughter, and since then, I’ve been so blessed to meet so many relatives from around the world. I’ve become really close with my new cousins, and they even share my love of buttons, crafts, humour, science and food!!!!!! How exciting is that?
A friend who’s husband is a Veteran contacted me about doing a custom painting- she collected his Royal Canadian Air Force buttons from his uniforms and wanted me to create something special for him. Per Ardua Ad Astra (“Through adversity to the stars”) is the moto of the RCAF. I painted this Air Force blue and of course, I added some poppies under the tree. Now THAT is one special button tree. It was an honor to paint this one!
Here is a painting that a fan from Pakistan did using my ‘how to paint poppies’ tutorial. This was their first acrylic painting! Awesome, hey? Thanks for sharing, Tasneem!
Well, thanks for reading, and I hope you will be spending some time remembering the sacrifices made by many brave people tomorrow.
I will end this post with my favourite Remembrance Day quote:
Our battlefields, safe in the keeping
Of Nature’s kind, fostering care,
Are blooming, our heroes are sleeping,
And peace broods perennial there. ~ John H. Jewett