Ashes to Art: From Waldo Canyon to Black Forest

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Last year at this time, Steve Weed found himself in a troubled place. He's a resident of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, and nearly everyone on his block had lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire, except him.

So Weed, an artist and "image maker," got to work painting to help sort out his feelings, and used debris from his charred surroundings. Charcoal from burnt wood, ashes from the ground and recycled doors hold together what would become a 20-piece series depicting the fire.

Now Weed finds himself in a similar place, says his wife Laurie Wilson via e-mail. When the Black Forest Fire broke out in mid-June, the couple felt that familiar pang of sickness and fear watching victim interviews on TV. Naturally, Weed got back to work, this time at the behest of Black Forest victims.

"Steve is incorporating charcoal and ashes that have been provided from victims who lost homes in the Black Forest," Wilson writes. "This gesture (they told him they were honored to be part of something who cathartic and important) nearly made Steve cry."

As before, the works will raise money for fire recovery efforts. The Waldo Canyon pieces and the Black Forest pieces will each benefit the victims of their respective fires. An auction is planned to sell Weed's works, though no date has been set just yet.

Like the previous series, Weed's fires seem more animal than elemental. Fire roils in bright, obnoxious hues; sooty smoke plumes rise angrily above a small horizon, like this:

You can find all of Weed's completed works from both fires now through the end of the summer at the Chapel Hills Mall, where it's on display with the help of Colorado Springs Together. As Weed finishes pieces, they'll go up too.

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