“Mount Loafer Splendor” Inspiration…

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved my big, beautiful Utah Rocky Mountains. To me, they are home; a protection. Each mountain has a name, and stands tall and mighty; displaying unique beauty with each passing season. If there was a contest, “Mount Loafer” would win, hands down! It’s seasonal beauty surpasses all other mountains in my opinion. Last Winter, (January 2018), I happened to be driving home at sunset. We had just experienced a heavy snowfall, and when you combine a gorgeous sunset with a mountain blanketed in perfect white, it reflects every color imaginable. It took my breath away, and I just had to stop to take a photo! I wanted to capture that moment not just for me, but for everyone who shares my love for that mountain range. The truth is, it’s base is home to many incredible people that I call friends, neighbors, and loved ones. I immediately purchased a large canvas, and got to work. When I finished, it filled my heart with great joy. 

The Devastation

Fast forward eighth months later to late August (2018), when the unthinkable happened. The summer season was extremely dry, and conditions were dangerous. I was driving my girls home from their dance lessons when I noticed a small fire behind my beloved mountain range. Apparently, lightening had struck in that spot, and the dry, windy conditions allowed for quick and aggressive spreading. Before long, it had developed into what was known as the Pole Creek, and Bald Mountain fires, burning over 120,440 acres, and drawing firefighters from 37 states nation wide to aid in the disaster. It’s become the nation’s 1st and 2nd priority fires at the time because of the potential threat of endangering over 6,000 residents. These residents were evacuated, including many of my personal friends. We watched in agony as the beautiful mountains, and canyons we love so dearly burned, leaving great loss of farms, ranches, vegetation, wild life, and even ancient pine trees. It literally looked like Armageddon at night as we watched the 200 ft. flames blazing everywhere! Wildlife fled for safety, finding refuge in the fields and foothills below. Many tears were shed, and everyone was panicking. The smoke-filled-air lasted for days, making it impossible to step outside for fresh air. Ashes from fire snowed down upon us. Often, we would find burnt leaves and tips of pine branches on our sidewalks and driveways. It was a scene of great sadness.

Faith, Miracles, Bravery

Despite the vast devastation, miraculously, NONE of the homes of the evacuees had burned! The firefighters had fought hard and tirelessly, and many prayers of faith were asked by the entire community. Faith led to miracles occurring daily. We all saw God’s hand at work. Our entire community pulled together providing assistance, shelter, and endless donations to aid the effort. Helicopters flying overhead daily, serve as a reminder that we were being watched over and protected. These firefighters put their own lives on the line to fight the ugly monster at hand. It was humbling to witness such bravery and strength. And I will add, the face of my beloved Mount Loafer (for the most part), was spared. 

I’m grateful that I was inspired last Winter to capture the magnificent beauty of this mountain range. Unfortunately, the far right side of Loafer and over was completely destroyed. Those beautiful pine trees remain a distant memory, but they exist in my painting. I believe that we are inspired to do certain things at certain times. The timing for this project was unbelieveable, and I’m grateful I responded to the nudge that prompted me. 

My hope is that by reading this, my viewers will not just see a beautiful painting, but take to heart what took place here. God is real…no doubt, and there is much good in this world today.

I’ve learned that love and kindness are the only way. And we haven’t lost; only gained through this amazing experience. 

– Andrea Kirk (Artist)

Watch time lapse creation of this painting here: