Black Diamond Series This painting was prompted by the horribly large number of mine fatalities recorded for the year in which it was painted. Sixty-seven miners lost their lives in the mining of coal in the United States in that year after a record number of years without a single fatality. Many in the mining industry were stunned by the ever increasing number that year. Those of us who saw a friend, loved-one, or relative listed among those who lost their lives that year became more tragic for us. It also became abundantly clear that something had changed drastically in the industry. I and my family later came to know the extent of the pain, sorrow, and loss when my sister lost her husband to the mines and he too became one of those statistics.
This painting represents all four of the seasons to symbolize the year. There are also four miners; seen as cloud formations, with the largest miner shaped cloud to represent the season of the year when the largest majority of the fatalities occurred. There are sixty-seven birds in the painting to represent the souls of the departed, some are black, some brown, some are white, to illustrate the diversity of those who lost their lives. The mine, tipple, and dock is at Steele, Kentucky which was owned then by Elkhorn Coal Corporation.
This represents the continuous technological refinement of the mining industry, but emphasizes the human toll and sacrifice of the individual to the progress of our nation. I dedicated this painting to the memory and in honor of those who have given their lives, lungs, and years of toil that we may have energy to power our progress and a higher quality of life for all Americans.