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"For three years, I wanted to make a campfire the unique focus of a painting. As a regular visitor to Yosemite National Park and an admirer of the writings of naturalist John Muir, I have a special appreciation for the wilderness. A photo cannot possibly reveal a fire's extremes of bright and dark. Every value of light and shade must be precise; only a paintbrush can convey it. And how could a photograph express the mesmerizing pattern into the air, the energy of decades of sunshine dispersing in a matter of minutes? It took years of planning and months of preliminary work, but finally the painting was completed.
"After creating 'A Mountain Campfire,' I happened upon a quote by John Muir about a night spent in the wilderness. It was as if Muir had seen the painting himself. Muir said, 'The glories of a mountain campfire are far greater than may be guessed. One can make a day of any size and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining. You gaze around at the illuminated trees as if you'd never seen trees before. Sparks stream off like comets or in round, star-like whirls from a sun. They fly into space like Milky Ways of lavishness and fall like white flakes, feathery and pure as snow.'” - Stephen Lyman