It all started with the article in the Press Democrat showing Bettina and Carole and I sketching out on the streets of Coffey Park, that famously unfortunate neighborhood of fleeing souls that lost 1200 homes in one night in last October’s firestorm in Santa Rosa, CA.
Sasha saw the article and contacted us to see if we could do a similar “fire story sketch” of Kevin’s (her fiance) home that burned that night. The idea was to try to do something showing the passage of time.
I started by sketching what was the present moment of the new home coming up on a street which was busy with construction.
Of all the neighborhoods in Santa Rosa that burned in that fire, Coffey Park is way ahead in efforts to rebuild. You can see the Coffey Strong signs everywhere that express a kind of neighborhood “united we stand” sentiment that has proved to be so vital to the spirit of healing and renewal.
Sasha wanted another sketch showing the possession that Kevin was the most distressed to lose in the fire – his shiny new red motorcycle! Luckily she had a photo of the motorcycle before and after, as well as a before the fire photo of the house. I was able to combine all three in this rendering.
Sasha invited me to come after work to see how the house was coming along, meet Kevin, give them the sketches, and watch the Coffey Strong neighbors greeting each other for their “walk the neighborhood” and potluck gathering. There were smiles and hugs and picture taking and exchanges of information about how the construction is going, decisions that are being made, etc. It felt like the kind of survivor’s club I’d want to be a member of.
Kevin and Sasha are told the house will be finished by Christmas. I sure hope Kevin has a motorcycle under the tree!
so glad you could this for them… It must have been a terrible time
Just a fabulous post,!
Lovely, thoughtful art that extends beyond the page!
A beautiful and caring way of giving to this couple who lost their home…and to the other neighbors in Coffey Park.
Thanks Penny. I was actually wondering if you might be interested in helping with our Sketching Fire Stories project. I have something in mind. Will email you.
What a wonderful gift you gave them. I wish them the best. It’s so inspiring to see what the people of Coffey Park are doing and how they are building out of the ashes.
The gift was as much to me as them. And a big part of that was their inspirational story that I got to hear.