Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Trubute.. to Hope!

Hope Springs Eternal... but it takes working on! The coming of Spring signifies Hope in all cultures. It is the time when the Natural World slips from dormancy and the icy shroud of winter. It is the time in the Christian World when Resurrection conquers Death. It is the time in a Child's World when freedom from heavy clothes... a time when freedom of movement and play fills the hearts of the young with joy... delight... and even love.

If you watched the Royal Wedding... and didn't feel the overwhelming and radiating power of Hope... in not only the couple... but the British nation as a whole... then you are incapable of ever finding... or embracing Hope. I am hardly Royalist (though my Mother was). But I was deeply moved by the possibility of a better life for these young people. Their subjects obviously sensed and embraced that notion of Hope.

As I listened to the soaring ... pure voices of the boy choristers reaching to the very heights of the vaulting... one hundred and twenty-one feet above this pageant... my own previous sadness and the cold greyness of our late-to-appear Canadian Spring melted away... and was replaced by true joy... if only for a single day.

As with all aspects of the human condition and experience... paradox exists for all states of being. One cannot understand, or appreciate gain... unless one has felt loss. Light cannot exist or be appreciated... except to have followed on the heels of darkness. Joy is beyond understanding... except for the affliction of pain. And so too... one can only strive for Hope... when one has tasted Despair.

If Hope be a "thing"... a feeling... wherein lives any chance of Hope... or Love prevailing... where might replaces right... where violence against any other individual is justified and condoned out of pure vengeance? What lessons do these thoughts ... actions and even governmental support teach children who look to their adults for direction?

I do not subscribe to... or cannot change those feelings ... or erase the actions of such Hopeless acts... but I can express Hope in my own unique and personal way. "I" choose to continue to reach out ... in Hope and Love.. to whoever will accept it... believe in it ... and pass it forward. I have created a painting which fills my heart with Hope.

Making that painting... as a result of a trip to the Barbados... where I found Hope ... alive and well amongst a vast number less fortunate individuals than my Self.... I returned to Canada and my own life filled with Hope and optimism. That momentary elation and sense of Hope was dashed... temporarily at least, by the combined and overburdening greyness lingering here and in many other parts of the world... the heavy and oppressive weight of a stagnant economy... and even sadder... several world events that eclipsed the Joy and Hope created by the Royal Wedding.

In closing... I offer my painting "Tribute to Hope" and my Mom... now passed... and with it...I would like to share a favourite poem which deeply and emphatically underscores my own personal feelings about Hope... and Hoping! It is a poem by Emily Dickinson... seemingly simple in vocabulary and imagery... on its surface. But ... do take the time to read each word... each stanza... and absorb the energy and message that is skillfully crafted and presented. The subject of my painting is an upright Heleconia... as prevalent (with its sister the hanging Heleconia) in the Barbados landscape... as our bright yellow, saucy "nuisance"... though not to "Me"... dandelion.

Oddly enough... there is a basis for comparison in use of imagery... in Dickinson's poem and my painting. Dickinson uses a bird as the central metaphor to portray Hope. The Heleconia is often referred to as the "Bird of Paradise"... because of its exotic form... colour and surrounding. I hadn't thought of that until this writing.... the Universe does conspire!....HAHA!!


Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune--without the words,

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard:

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea:

Yet never in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

I truly hope that these conjoined offerings warm your soul and raise Hope within...a few rungs higher in each of your separate... but parallel journeys. Embrace Hope... Paint hard... and dream sweet dreams... no matter what goes on about "You"! Stay your course... and Hope! Count your blessings... and not your defeats!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!... and to all Moms wherever you may be!!!

Good Painting! Hoping that life treats us all... a bit better in the upcoming months ahead!

PS A few licks n' a promise still be added to the painting.


  1. Hi Bruce, thank you for that and for the beautiful poem of hope from Emily. I will go to my easel and get painting as you say 'paint on'whatever goes on about you' It feels as if I am waiting in the wings for life to happen' everyone is reluctant to spend their money yet in order for the economy to be better folk have to start spending. Not an easy time for artists or gallery owners, strange though as I had a very good Christmas with many art sales. It is not easy to paint your song when under a grey sky that is raining on you! remedy ... take shelter under a lilac tree!

  2. Hi Caroline!...
    Good to hear from "You"... and happy that you enjoyed the post!

    Artists... past and present have suffered from the same economic woes and hardships right across the recorded annals of art. This is no different today!Our service... product we offer in the marketplace is dependent upon both the whim and the financial ability to spend in the society in which we live in.

    Unfortunately... for a very few of us... that basic need to make art goes beyond merely earning money... or a living. It is a necessary act that keeps us healthy and happy.

    It may not "be easy to paint your song under a grey sky that is raining on you"... but like Maya Angelou said: the bird sings, only because it has a song.

    Sing your song Caroline! When I sing mine ... all the world about "Me" seems better... somehow!

    Good Painting... and Good luck!
    Warmest regards,

  3. A breath of the beautiful tropics; thank you, Bruce! And your words are straight from my heart, truly.

    The only thing I'm not sure about is the validity of knowing joy by having experienced pain. I rather like to think that I don't necessarily have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs. LOL Honestly. I have enough fears to bring Atlas to his knees. I don't really want or need them to be realized to appreciate the blessings. Honest I don't! Please God, I don't!

  4. Hi Marian!... Thanks for dropping by... and for the "pretty"!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Dear Sherry!... Thanks for dropping by and for your encouraging comments about the painting!

    Many of the people in my life... around me... in my family and in my blogging circle are sharing a common malaise and lack of Hope! Even our Paint Box Gallery has been slower than slow. These are not easy times.

    No one wishes to suffer pain or..."lows".. but reality tells "Me" that Life is an ocean. That ocean has currents and storms that come and go... weather that is under constant change... and at odd and unpredictable times can inflict mortal pain upon us.

    But inspite of all of this potential for pain and hardship... there is beauty and potential for happiness that by far outweighs the sum total of the other less joyful events.

    It seems trite to say: "Count your blessings... name them one by one..." Sherry, but what I really am saying and believe fully is that "looking at one's cup as half full... rather than half empty" is common sense. It allows for... and encourages one to feel Gratitude and the POSSIBILITY for Happiness!!!

    I am not preaching "at you"."I" am speaking to "You"... as a person who has survived a tsunami of Darkness... through Faith... and my painting! Despite having gone through this ordeal... "I" can say in all honesty and with my own Truth... take it for what you wish:

    "I"... am deeply blessed!Even my Darkness helped shape the foundation of the person I have become today and finally... taught "Me" ow to recognize and appreciate those "smallish" blessings.

    God (Whichever one you believe in) bless and keep "You" Sherry!

    Good Painting...and Writing!
    Warmest regards,

  6. Very insightful comment responses Bruce. I was wondering what your thoughts were on painting for well being. I have noticed for a long time now that artists seem to take great interest and gain happiness from painting things that only other artists seem to get excited about. So many buyers will love to see a well known place painted as it will then mean something special to the buyer. Yet artists often prefer the quiet solitary tree found deep in the forest and paint that instead! In blogging world I am seeing this a great deal and I begin to think that we are all sharing almost a 'hobby' that we can all get excited about and also share. Blogging world to me not only means sharing ideas and seeing lovely works of other artist about to take pleasure in and to comment on but can also be a driving force on those grey days when it is hard to get to the easel. But how are we to know how commercially pleasing our work is to the buyer? we surely can't keep painting well known views for anniversary gifts! I have felt recently that I may be losing my way in a commercial way as my expressive work while loved by other artists does tend to leave friends and family a bit bewildered! I guess we have to find that balance of painting for us and painting for the buyers. A gallery owner said recently that artists while onto a good thing for a while will suddenly go and paint a load of very unsellable stuff, why! it seems neither the gallery owner or the public understand artists! do you have any ideas on this Bruce!

  7. Hi Caroline!... As I said in tthe response to your comment (above)... these are troubling and challenging times for artists all over the world!

    There are no pat answers for a quick turnaround it appears. My answer as I keep encouraging... is to maintain Hope... and to Paint! Paint! Paint!... what you have a passion for! Good luck with that!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,

  8. Hi Bruce,

    Beautiful painting and wonderful post. Much needed, for my daughter and her family are moving to another state. My grand children have been in our lives for 8 yrs. Yesterday, my grandson made in Communion, today his baby brother will be baptized. My grand daughter who constantly draws and paints, they will be moving the end of August.

    Because of you and your post, I am now filled with so much hope and positive thoughts. Painting for me has always helped me through life's sorrows and through art I have been able to share in joyous times as well.

    So Bruce, I will do as you suggest, Paint! Paint!Paint! And most of all maintain Hope.

    Thank you again.

  9. Dear Friend Joan!.... Your "Voice(s)"... as I hear and see them... always ring out with a note sunny hope and optimism!

    Your sensitive and loving portraits of Virginia and Gabriella "speak"... before you ever say the words... of your love... pride and deep Hope ... for each of "Them"!

    Your landscapes and your searching sketches present to the world about "You"... a positive and always conscientious desire on your part... to do your best!

    Life is complicated Joan! Continue to do your best! Paint! Paint! Paint!... and count your many blessings... blessings that others share too... but fail to recognize!

    Happy Mother's Day Joan!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,