humanity

From Spirit Park to Spirit Dark

Spirit Dark after Guernica, in progress

Spirit Park

The evolution of today’s post:

The Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver is a beautiful jewel in our city, a place of peace and tranquility that I have posted about many times, and as recently as this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post. On our last visit there one of my photos inspired me…

…to set up a number of sheets of newsprint on the studio wall and see where it took me with charcoal, crayon and paint.

     

I was happy that the image was progressing well and was close to being finished…

…and then yesterday morning came the news from Spain of the horrific terrorist attack killing and injuring countless innocent men, women and children from all over the world, enjoying a summer’s evening in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.  The images were heartbreaking, and one particularly was unforgettable, a baby’s stroller abandoned on the sidewalk and a child lying motionless in the street.

I shall never forget the first time I saw Picasso’s Guernica in New York in 1965.  It has haunted me ever since, and those images from Barcelona immediately brought it back to me.  It is perhaps one of the greatest works of protest art ever created, painted by Picasso after the attack on the city of Guernica in 1937.

Suddenly my Spirit Park in the studio seemed a million miles away from the reality of the carnage and horror happening across the sea, and images relating to another time in history started to appear amongst the trees together with that stroller and that beautiful innocent child.

As I send sympathy and condolences to all those suffering from yet another crime against humanity, Spirit Dark in some small way is my way of protesting these evil times.

One more photo from that morning in the park perhaps allows me to end with a ray of hope in our dark world.

liberty weeps

August 11th and 12th, 2017 will be forever remembered as two days of infamy that brought terror, shame, evil and murder to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. I send my condolences to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, murdered as she bravely stood up against bigotry and hatred, and whose words on her Facebook read “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.”

I also send condolences to the families and friends of Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who also died as a result of the evil that visited their city.

May they all rest in peace and may Liberty’s flame act as beacon of hope.

day of sorrow

A day of sorrow and despair for the families and friends of too many innocent, precious lives lost and injured in Manchester. I would like to express my sympathy and condolences to them all and my gratitude to those who have shown the true face of humanity in helping them in every way possible.

meeting 7915

For this week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post Krista asks us to share a photo that depicts our interpretation of “security.”

Given the events of the last 24 hours I hope you will allow me to become political today.

The photograph is of the entrance to the United Nations Building in New York, which I took in 1965 on my first visit to this greatest of cities as a young student visiting America for the first time.

Yesterday, like all of you, I saw the horrific images from the nerve gas attack on the people of the city of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, northern Syria, images that will haunt me for many years to come. Children gasping for air, suffocating, and dying along with their family members in a war crime that is now imprinted on the minds of all of us. There are not enough words to express the anger, despair and sorrow that we all feel today as we express our deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this atrocity.

This morning I watched the webcast of the 7915th meeting of the UN Security Council in which each member of the council made a statement concerning “The situation in the Middle East (Syria)” as the session was entitled. Watching the representatives and listening to their statements it felt as if we are living in an alternative universe and witnessing another moment in time in which truth, facts and reality never seemed more unattainable.

Two moments among many stood out. The first was the Russian delegate who claimed that the Nobel Peace Prize nominated White Helmets had staged the event implying that we were witnessing actors pretending to die and foam at the mouth. No commentary that I have read or heard so far has, as yet, condemned these words.

The second moment was Nikki Haley, the President of the Council and the US Representative, holding up two graphic photographs that I have blurred for obvious reasons, and asking the Russian representative to look at them. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares” she said. Her words were powerful and worth listening to. At the end of this post I have provided a link to the UN broadcast that I would encourage you to visit when you have the time.

Will there be a resolution to come from this. One doubts it, but we can only hope. Here is the link to the UN Council meeting.

escape with me

I have a treat for you today. Come and join me on my morning walk yesterday and escape for a few minutes from the hate, the anger, the despair, and the noise that we are all being pummelled with each and every day. I don’t know about you but my troubled soul needed a little healing and when the sun rose yesterday on freshly fallen snow with the mountains stark against the bluest of skies, I knew all I had to do was dress warmly, put on my boots and venture out into the crisp air and morning sunshine.  I’m happy to say it worked.

5

It didn’t take long to enjoy every magical moment with everyone else who was out and about.

16

This gallery, which I have also made into a slide show, I hope will help sooth your soul too.

This next photo is for Cheri and her Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

15

As I came closer to the trees  in Vanier Park I was greeted by a symphony of sound that made me stop in my tracks and listen for several minutes, joined by others who were equally as enthralled.  Here is a short excerpt from my post entitled Birdsong for today’s Daily Prompt: Heard.  If you feel like pausing for a minute or two and hearing more visit the post and listen to it all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope this has made your day as much as it did mine.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

I have been struggling how best to respond to this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge from Cheri in which she asks, “what quest means to you.”

Initially I thought, somewhat philosophically, that I would explore trying to represent the quest we all have had at some point in our lives for “the meaning of life,” but this week watching the horror and tragedy in Aleppo becoming more desperate each day, and seeing the heartbreaking images of little children, the same age as my beautiful granddaughter who is fifteen months old today, being pulled from the rubble of their homes, it is clear that the meaning of life had ended for them before it had even had a chance to begin.

quest-vi

Watching on my laptop one of Jeremy Bowen’s reports from Syria, one image stood out as a metaphor for all the White Helmet volunteer relief workers, first responders and medics who have lost their lives in the name of peace and humanity trying to save these children and families. This ambulance had been pulverized in targeted bombing and on its side are the words HAS YOUR HEART DIED, and hidden behind the pillar I believe the words read ALONG WITH YOUR CHILDREN?

How else to express both outrage and sadness but with pen and brush, ink and paper, as I have done too many times before:

quest-ii

 

And so you ask what is my answer to Cheri’s question,”What does quest mean to you?”It is simply that one day those responsible for these war crimes will be held accountable and brought to justice.

quest-vii

Aleppo 25.9.16

Here is the link to Jeremy Bowen’s report from September 14th:

Syria ceasefire: Aleppo district “pulverized”

Dedicated to five-year-old Rawan Alowsh who was pulled alive by her pony tail from the rubble last Friday and sadly to the memory of her three sisters and one brother, who were all killed in the airstrike together with their father, Mohammad Alowsh, 28, and mother, 30-year-old Kefaeh.

 

prepare six dishes

loti23vi

Rising Mist 23.07.16 In Progress

The last section, Part IV, of Tony Smibert’s book Painting Landscapes from you Imagination, which I began working through at the beginning of the month, is titled: The Projects, of which there are three, and today I began the first – Rising Mist.

The palette. You’ll need to have all your colors ready to go,” writes Tony.
Prepare six dishes of the following colors: Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Hooker’s Green, Lamp Black. The last dish will contain your gray made from Phthalo Blue and Light Red.”

loti23iv

The color notes are a way of planning before you begin”

loti23iii
 
loti23v

to be continued…

Although I was working in my studio in Vancouver my thoughts were many thousands of miles away with the people of Kabul where so many lost their lives or were injured in yet another terrorist crime against humanity today. I may be painting and trying to bring color and joy into the world but I want you to know that my heart breaks with each and every one of these terrible events that our world is experiencing with a too unbearable regularity.

all you need

love

On another day of tragedy taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a message from our beautiful granddaughter whose radiant smile is lifting all of our spirits this weekend.
If only love was all you needed, but it certainly is a start.

the crying poppy

Poppy vi

A watercolour painted this morning listening to the news from
Dallas, Minnesota and Baton Rouge.

In remembrance.