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Finding Peace In A Flower

Ah! Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveler’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake
Summer In Italy

I remember the afternoon I sat in front of this field of sunflowers, mesmerized by their hypnotic movement in the breeze following the sun’s movement across the Umbrian sky. I felt the stress of the job I had left behind in Canada fall away.  This certainly was not an uncommon reaction to being with nature, but at that time, it was not an experience that I’d had in a very long time and it felt both extremely powerful and peaceful.

It’s no wonder then that I’ve painted elements of this field 4 times! And usually when I’ve felt in need of a little restorative energy.

I drew this piece last October, painted half of it this past January, and then stopped for another project. This week I was able to resume this painting, however under different inspirational circumstances.

Yes, I could still recall the peace I felt sitting by that Umbrian field, but now peace of another kind was top-of-mind – Ukraine’s call for peace, the World’s united call for peace in the Ukraine, as represented by its much-loved national flower, the sunflower. Standing tall, face always to the sun, providing beauty and bounty – like their flower, characteristics of the Ukrainian people that we are seeing demonstrated every day of this terrible conflict.

I’ve read that there are large regions of sunflower fields in Central Ukraine that families liked to visit for picnics and those hypnotic views, not unlike me at my Umbrian fields. I pray with all my heart that they can get back to this peaceful pastime very very soon.

“Summer In Italy”; 2.5″ x 2.5″ miniature ink and watercolour painting

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