Celebrate Freedom was painted from an original photograph paired with created digital elements.
The original photograph was at first a disappointment, as I had difficulty obtaining a good view of the fireworks exploding. My shutter speed was too slow; the smoke refused to clear; and there was this unfortunately placed light-pole...
What made this fireworks show different from any other I have ever attended was the patriotic enthusiasm of the crowd. At a time when larger cities and towns had canceled their fireworks shows, this York, Nebraska took up a collection so that they could properly celebrate the 4th of July. They even hoisted a very large American flag at center stage, lit from below with spotlights. It was very dramatic, but I could only view it at an angle that was not conducive to photographing against the light show.
I wanted very much to fit the flag in as I felt that the story this painting tells simply would not be complete without it, so I painted it in.
The only elements I kept from the photograph were the large white and yellow firework exploding at center, with the bright pink ball of light to the right below it, and a few orange streaks below it. All the other fireworks depicted are figments of my imagination based on my observations of multiple displays of fireworks.
In the far right corner, is the black and gray silhouette of a man in a beret and army jacket hugging his sweetheart as he watches the fireworks explode.