And So, I Keep Drawing.

And So, I Keep Drawing.

by Jesse Lane
"Gravity" by Jesse Lane. One of the five pieces lost in a fire last month.

From time to time, I think we all wonder what it would be like to lose a piece of art. Last month, I lost five pieces, which combined took a total of over 1,000 hours to create.

My first solo show had endeat RJD Gallery, my new gallery in Sag Harbor, New York.  A fire broke out around 6 o'clock the next morning, with my art still hanging on the walls.  The gallery, along with seven other businesses, was destroyed.  I first heard about it on Facebook, and it was painful watching the video of firefighters fighting trying to put out the blaze, thinking about my art being consumed.  

Thankfully, no one was injured and I'm extremely grateful that two of my portraits, "After the Storm" and “Riptide," were sold and shipped before the fire. Even so, this all has been hard to accept.  So much has been lost.  Fortunately, the artwork was insured and high-quality scans exist.

My work has always been about expressing emotion, but I was pulling emotions from my past.  There was a sense of distance between the emotions and the artwork. Now I must create new work while in the middle of an emotional storm, and it's a unique challenge.  My emotions and energy are drastically polarized.  On one hand, I feel inspired and want to rise from the ashes, but sometimes there is a great sense of depression. I try to remember that some of the greatest works of art have been created during times of personal or social struggle,  and so I'm hopeful.  But grieving is a challenging and dynamic process.  I hope it brings me drive and even more inspiration.

I am so grateful to all the people supporting me in this tough time — my colored pencil peers, my family, my social network and my gallery family.  The gallery's owner, Richard Demato, witnessed the fire and has worked tirelessly with insurance companies, media and the artists throughout this ordeal. What’s more, the gallery plans to reopen a new brick and mortar space in Bridgehampton, New York, on March 1st.  Thankfully, I have five pieces from my studio to share. They’re also busy updating websites like Artsy, Artnet and 1st Dibs to reflect the available works.

After a year filled with numerous awards, unprecedented recognition and inclusion in a wonderful gallery alongside artists I respect and admire, it’s difficult to move forward with all these conflicting emotions... but I know it is art that will get me through this. 

And so, I keep drawing.



Jesse Lane offered detailed insight into his process for the award-winning portrait "Manifest" in the August 2016 issue of COLOR magazine.

See more from Jesse

Comments (6)

Truly inspiring Jesse! Sometimes triumphing in the midst of trying times is the most bittersweet experience. Thank you for sharing your story. We weep with you, and rejoice alongside you as YOU rise from the flames.

Victoria Shewbrooks - Jan 11, 2017

I find your artwork breathtaking! To loose what you put your time, blood, sweat and tears into has to be devastating. You seem to be the kind of artist who will push through the emotions and create even more breathtaking works.

Jo Ann Morgan Smith - Jan 11, 2017

I am so very sorry that this happened! I am mesmerized by your art like so many other are. Since the first piece I saw on fb on colored pencils for beginners site. I can’t even image how your feeling other than devastation! I send you strength and wisdom to continue to create again and can’t wait to see what you will do.

Lisa Wisdom - Jan 11, 2017

I was so saddened to hear about this loss. Your art is so very unique and breathtaking. The drive is in you and always will be and you will continue to inspire all of us. I have signed up for the Alaskan workshop cruise and look forward to meeting you.

Karen Knight - Jan 11, 2017

My sympathies to you and the Gallery owner. That must be beyond words devastating!! Not a great start to the new year either, however, out of the most difficult times comes enormous growth which will undoubtedly show itself in your new work. The emotions of what you have been through, lost and rebuilt. It will be raw, it will be you, and it will be beautiful!!!

Cathi Lender - Jan 11, 2017

you are a brilliant artist. With that talent there is no doubt you will recover from this tragedy. Thank you for sharing.

Janet sommers - Jan 11, 2017

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