The inspiration for this piece comes from an art show prospectus. In late 2009, an art show was announced showcasing artwork depicting American ideals. What makes America great.
Of course I was excited about this project, and immediately began to think of American subjects. Innovation, diversity, perseverance, and dedication are interwoven into American culture. I, however, find myself wondering what historical events brought us to greatness in such short historical order. The accomplishments of the group of people known as Americans are vast. Where did this immense sense of pride come from? This contemplation lead me to begin to research my country’s heritage.
One individual that I seem to have gravitated towards is George Washington, well known as the Father of America. He reluctantly served our emerging country. What I glean from this is his inability to be corrupted by politics, monetary gain, special interest, and falling victim to “getting ahead” by selling out even the tiniest amount of one’s moral self. Mr. Washington led the continental army with integrity I have not yet heard of, and something any and every person should aspire to maintain in their own character. Perhaps something more common to the early American than modern Americans. The honor and integrity in which he led these men, commanded respect and honest to goodness love, led this country into a leading role in history.
What I decided to showcase in my piece is the quiet faith a person must possess and the unabridged love for a country and a people so diverse to warrant dedicating your life to the assurance of success. After failures, hardships, tragedies, triumphs and glory, Mr. Washington not only ensured this country's place as an independent entity in the world, but he returned once more to lead this country in the right direction after retiring to his quiet home.
In my day, my country is once again under attack. This attack isn’t with muskets, canons, or Red Coats. Not bombs, nuclear weaponry, or even terrorists' makeshift plane-bombs, although those things have put us in danger. What I’m referring to is a Progressive movement slowly chipping away at the freedom both you and I enjoy. Each day I hear of another event that takes a little piece of freedom and turns it into a government “program”. The movement has been working on this since the early 1900’s, and they are at the final push to transform America. We are told that America is undergoing a “fundamental transformation”. Into what I wonder? The founding of this country created a document of rights and rules that have created a free country the world has never seen. I believe every American should not only read the Bill of Rights, Constitution and Declaration of Independence, do not believe what anyone says is in it, but know for yourself what Mr. Washington, Mr. Ben Franklin, Mr. Sam Adams, and Mr. John Adams among others would fight so hard to create. Know our history, know our founders. If you truly believe in America and what she is, stand up for our country. Knowledge from the original source is the greatest asset for maintaining our freedom.
In my painting, Mr. Washington sits on some steps, could be the capitol, a memorial somewhere, or a town hall in your town, quietly praying for this nation his own blood, sweat and tears created. I imagined for a moment, what if Mr. Washington were alive today, how would he feel about our management this country. Would he be proud of you or me for our service to this great nation. Or would he be ashamed of our disassociation with American Ideals, our lethargic attitude towards freedom. American dedication to values; faith, honor, hope, truth, integrity, and charity is what made us. Mr. Washington would be praying for us indeed.
That is what I believe Mr. Washington would pray for. What do you believe he would pray for?
I will continue to read and research our American history and keep you all posted!