Live Paint at the WFF Fundraiser


Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of doing another live paint event for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation Fundraiser in Sacramento.  The charity event was held on the grounds of the old decommissioned McClellan Air Force Base at the Lions Gate Hotel, an area I had never been to prior, but very much enjoyed getting to visit.  The area itself is much tucked away from the rest of the Sacramento metropolis and has been lovingly cared for over the years, so getting to drive through all the little neighborhoods of old officers’ housing (many of which are still lived in today), was like going back into time.  Here, honor and courage are met with respect and pride – a way of life and a motif that carried into the evening’s event as well.

I had met Yolanda Saldana, the host and organizer of the event, while painting live at the last the fundraiser I attended at the end of January, The Art of Beer Festival.  Yolanda was gracious and easy to work with from the beginning.  This year’s fundraiser actually marked the fifth anniversary of the event and was definitely a source of both honor and pride for all those helping and attending the event.  The Wildland Firefighter Foundation itself is a wonderful organization who assist the families of injured and fallen firefighters before most other sources of help come in.  They are a frontline for financial and emotional support when it is needed most, and the funding for such help comes from varying fundraisers such as this.

Things were set up quite nicely for a lovely evening outside, with dinner tables set out on the courtyard, a stage set up for a live band and an indoor area with various prizes set up for the silent auction.  Yolanda helped me get situated in a corner area at the top of the stairs leading into the auction area, looking out over the courtyard.  It was a great location and I was fortunate that the area had a covering for shelter from the afternoon sun, but also had overhead lighting that would come on as the sun started to go down.  It hadn’t occurred to me that the event might be outdoors, so as the summer months roll along and things start getting warmer, I’ll have to remember to ask for future events and make sure I bring my pop-up tent along if needed.  With the assistance of both Yolanda’s son and my ever-willing and patience husband, Sean, we had things unloaded and I was set-up and ready to go fairly quickly.


People started trickling in, so I got straight to work.  I had decided to go with an aviation firefighting scene after a few smaller study pieces I had done earlier the week before (I also brought both of the smaller works along as they were in keeping with the evening’s theme – you’ll see them displayed to the right in my set-up photo.)  The canvas size for this evening was a 22”x 30” (just slightly smaller than the canvas for the Art of Beer Festival), and I had less time to finish it (roughly about two hours.)  I knew time was of the essence, so I just tried to get into my Zen zone and paint, pausing only briefly while a few words were said in honor of those whom we were honoring with the evening’s festivities.  People were enthusiastic and very supportive of my work, which was really encouraging to experience live first-hand and in the moment.  It was also really neat to see how very connected people were to my subject matter, as nearly all people in attendance were involved with fire service in one way or another.  I felt incredibly honored to have the opportunity to create in such an inspired setting.  I have included a time-lapsed video of the progression of my work during the evening below for your enjoyment.

In the end, I was incredibly pleased with how the piece turned out.  I was even able to include the purple remembrance ribbon for fallen firefighters on the tail of the plane I depicted, much to many of the attendees’ delight.  In the end, Yolanda herself wound up being the one who got to take the piece home at the end of the night, so I couldn’t have been happier.  It meant a lot to see how much it meant to her, and it was even more meaningful to have been a part of such a great cause.  Many thanks to Yolanda Saldana for the great opportunity and for being a lovely host; to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for all of their heart-felt efforts and to ALL of the firefighters out there risking their lives to keep us safe!


2 thoughts on “Live Paint at the WFF Fundraiser”

  1. Very awesome Brenna, love the colors, you can see right through it, keep up the good work, it’s in your DNA

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