The furnace of peace

“Summers Peace” -oil on canvas, 60x20cm, its not the same lake but the painting is reminiscent of the feeling.

A little over a week ago I was sitting by a small lake, my feet in the cool water soaking in the extraordinary peacefulness that filled the air and touched my soul, silent but for the summer sounds of the birds singing all around us, the frogs and fish snatching insects on the waters surface, and the warm sun making it a summers dream.

That peacefulness soaked into me like dye into chalk.

A week later and this happened in the very place I had been;

I can’t imagine the horror of being in a fire like this, the tragedy of the loss, and the overwhelming powerlessness.

Lake County fires, Northern California (image Sacramento Bee)
Lake County fires, Northern California (image Sacramento Bee)
Lake County fires, Northern California (image Sacramento Bee)

The almost total contrast is hard to reconcile, the violence and devastation is so far from that stillness of a week ago – it’s incredible, and reminded me again of some of the fire paintings in the Turner exhibition. He was obviously deeply moved by the Westminster fires, so eloquently and passionately rendered here that it becomes therapeutic, a way of digesting the experience…… “Since we’re creatures of infinite inner contradiction, art can help us be more whole not only by expanding our capacity for positive emotions but also by helping us to fully inhabit and metabolize the negative — and by doing so with dignity, and by reminding us “of the legitimate place of sorrow in a good life” ~ Maria Popova ( from an article on ‘Art as Therapy’ by Alain de Botton.

10 thoughts on “The furnace of peace

  1. your painting, Summer’s Peace is gorgeous. the quote by Maria Popova… is one well worth reminding oneself & often. It would be very heart rending I think to see the damage of the fire after such a lovely time there. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is horrific the devastation of fires of any sort. I must admit the second photo of the fires in California in its height of orange struck me as beautiful color wise. Summer’s Peace is truly beautiful as well. I love the colors you used. Be well my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ian, you were in Lake County? I live in a neighboring County and have siblings and friends there. My heart is so truly heavy over this..some of my friends have lost both their businesses and homes and the only thing they have are the clothes on their backs (and thank God, eachother). Others have no idea if their homes are still standing. It’s so unbelievable.
    Thank you for posting this. The painting is amazing. I’m finding it hard to write with all of the sadness 😦


    1. Yes we went up for the day, Kate had an amazing Watsu session with Shantam there. We haven’t heard whether her beautiful place has survived but it is truly awful to imagine how it is there – for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

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