Saturday, April 10, 2010

Picturing Peace

Often I find that art comes to me as I pass it, or seek it out in various collections and shows. The emotional response is one then that I have not sought out, but rather one that is impressed upon me. Not that this is a negative way to experience art, but it is a usual one. Recently I found myself looking for an emotional response, a state of being; I was looking for peace. Not peace in the world peace sense, but images that evoked a sense of peacefulness. Searching through Gay's images I chose several that evoked that response, and over the next several weeks I sat with them, returned to them, and found they continually brought on a sigh, relief and release. Peace.
I then thought about what it was that evoked that response and that, along with some of those images, is what I share here.

In the image above--taken on the Olympic Peninsula--I like the sense of the near, far and middle distance. It speaks of potential and possibility as much as it speaks of a contentment with what lies behind, and of the present. The interplay of purples and greens, the snow on the far mountains, these speak of change, promise and contentment.

Three birds sitting on the barbed wire in the last not-quite-warm sun of a late summer afternoon, two looking forward, one looking back. They appear so content; accepting of  the imminent change of seasons, the combination of warm sun and slight chill on the breeze, being where they are, looking both forward and back without judgment. Just being.

And finally, here is this little fellow, coming out of the grass, stopping to look into his future, enjoying the warm sun on his back, warm mud and gentle eddies of the water around his legs and feet. Like the birds he is so present, going from one place to another, yet so content with what is and what was.

So, I realized that when I picture peace I look for a sense of possibility without the anxiety of contemplating change that we so often instill in our path through life. So often we mull over our options, try to figure out what will be, try to look behind and change what we can't. That is a state I find anxiety producing and not particularly constructive. It was interesting to me to look for peace in images, find it, and consider what evoked that feeling: possibility, change and contentment with what is and was. These images (and others I chose) serve as reminders of, and vehicles to that place, that state of being.

I am going to try this with other states of being in future posts, but perhaps you would like to see what says peace to you, or what says... something else you seek.

Look through Gay's images and see what speaks to you. Make a lightbox so you can return to those images (if you need to know how to do this please e-mail), and consider...what says "peace" to you? What says.....?

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Please comment below or e-mail to respond to this post, share and let us know what you find.

Gay's Gallery previews, look at images:

My peace lightbox, with additional peace images:

1 comment:

sharon McDonnell said...

I like the question you are asking. As I have been working with organizations and people it is very hard to get them to look at art in terms of how it makes most people "feel". I call this a libmic or midbrain response. How does your "gut" respond. Does your heart rate go up or down, does the picture cue safety and good images? Too often what I get is a frontal lobe response which is "overthought". I wonder if we put you on biofeedback or neural feedback if we would see that these types of images had a physiological response in you. I will try "create a link below". You might find the "guidelines" for health care art interesting. This is a summary of the characteristics of art that tends to reduce the stress response. Here is link. I have included some characteristics that are still in "testing" and others that are well researched.