The Dream Keepers by Kathryn Fincher
Tell Me More
The Dream Keepers by Kathryn Fincher ~ A painting inspired by the events of September 11, 2001. During the events of that day, I had no desire to paint. I watched and I mourned. But artists cannot dodge their creativity, their means of expression, or their responsibility to their talent. As a painter that is a voice for the children, I could not remain silent. My first ideas were the obvious ones, such as children holding flags or pledging their allegiance.
However, it was the memory of painting a mural in our church that motivated me. I helped the children to paint the rainbow above Noah's Ark by using their handprints."The Dream Keepers" is inspired from this memory. This composition allowed me the opportunity to suggest a cross above the flag by using the shadows from the windows. The seven children-- Biblically the perfect number-- with different skin tones, represent the seven continents.
After the painting was completed, a friend pointed out the huge red, handprint at the base of the cross. Although it was unintentional, I felt that it was divinely placed.
But the miracle I remember most is my experience after "The Dream Keepers" was completed. As with most of my paintings, I submit to my publisher the story "behind the scene." However, I was unable to find the time or the words to write. I was unaware that I was scheduled for an overnight trip to New York City. Once there, I realized my hesitancy, for I needed to see Ground Zero for confirmation to make "The Dream Keepers" complete. Ground Zero was blocked-off from the public. As it turned out, I spoke with a New York policeman and he escorted me inside the barricade, and arranged for my friends and I to have a private tour. The area outside the barricade was covered with flowers and memorials. With so much mourning, could I endure the devastation inside? I expected the experience inside to be similar. It was not.
Within the barricade, there was a busy community. The workers were not in a rush and everyone worked together. There was a gentleness and kindness beyond measure that I had not experienced previously in New York or anywhere. Surrounding the huge pile of rubble were men and women, of all different ethnic backgrounds, working side by side.
I realized that the unity and spirit of the workers was also reflected and protected by two churches facing one another, on either side of the rubble, both untouched. These churches served as a safe refuge to many on that tragic day. They continue to serve as a safe harbour for mourners and workers during the recovery effort.
As I returned to the world outside the barricade, onlookers asked, "What was it like? Sad? Disgusting? What did you feel?" Some say our innocence is forever lost, we will never be the same. Maybe so. However, from my experience at Ground Zero, I was uplifted by a spirit of hope that was piled higher than any rubble or despair. I had seen... and I had met... "The Dream Keepers."
---Kathryn Andrews Fincher
About The Artist
Kathryn Andrews Fincher says that painting is not only her profession, but also her passion, and portraying children and their fascinating expressions has become her consuming inspiration.
Although a student of art since her teens, Fincher was in her early thirties before painting replaced professional water skiing as her career. (She was once the number-two-ranked trick skier in the nation.) Fincher’s mother, a portrait artist, continually encouraged her daughter to paint faces, which seemed to work in contrast to the young painter’s desires. Fincher commenced her painting career with a primary focus on wildlife and landscapes; however, after she painted her first child’s face in the image titled “First Look”, the artist had found her niche.
As the artist explains, “Children, with their many discoveries and expressions, and their constant developmental changes in the very early years, are a wealth of visual stories…I fall in love time after time with the faces of my own children and those of family and friends.
“When I discovered that one little shadow or slight change of the angle in a child’s mouth could change and entire expression, I was hooked,” admits Fincher. “I’m not interested in painting unrealistic, perfect children sitting up straight with their knees together, but rather that moment when a child is consumed with studying something or on the brink of a new discovery.”
Fincher’s goal is to avoid painting the obvious. It is the expressions on children’s faces when they are on the brink of experiencing something new that the artist strives to capture. Even the wonderment of viewing life in different forms – such as insects and fish – can be fascinating. “I love to tell stories, and what better avenue than through the face of a child,” says the artist.
Upon close observation, you will find inspiration n each of the artist’s captivating images. Her children will touch you and give you the opportunity to return to that spirit of youth and innocence each of us so fondly remembers.
Kathryn Andrews Fincher resides near Atlanta with her husband, Jeff, and their two daughters.