Anyone who has read this blog for a while will know I am often inspired by images, so when this month’s peace challenge was announced, I felt pretty happy. Our challenge was to think about a piece of art that makes us peaceful: for me the painter John Miller immediately came to mind.
To view some of his work, click here. I’ve had prints of his paintings on my walls for over a decade, and I still find them restful.
I have always loved this type of art, with its blue skies and sandy beaches. Maybe a parasol, or an early afternoon sun, give it an extra dimension – but it’s really the sky over the water that does it. The sense of space.
Open space makes me feel as though my imagination is limitless – and, as a writer, that’s a truly life-affirming feeling.
But the more I thought about art, the more I reflected that peace in art is more than just images. It exists in different places and different forms.
Nature is the original art. One of my favourite natural landscapes is a bluebell wood. They are magical; shadowed and lit by the movement of the breeze; in some places it looks as though the trees are walking on a rippling lake. These woods are profoundly peaceful – quiet, soothing and reviving.
Created art can be practical, as well as beautiful. There’s a type of building that often makes me feel at peace: a traditional windmill. Watching the sails languorously turn on a fine day, they don’t look like functional technical machines. They look like beacons of a past life, of living from the land. They make me think of fresh bread and summer sunshine and horses clopping and picnics, all rolled into one.
And sometimes peace in art is a surprise – this example comes from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Although the contest came from a sense of wanting to rebuild relationships between nations, most entries are more pop music than political message. This was the Russian entry, sung by Dina Garipova, called ‘What if’. The song starts about 55 seconds in, and its message is one of peace.
So what have I learnt about peace in art?
I’ve learnt that I am surrounded by it, if I only take the time to look. I’ve learnt that what inspires me as a writer often inspires a feeling of peace – and I often find my inspiration as a writer through peace.
I love that idea, and I’ll explore it more in later peace posts.
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