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  • Writer's pictureSusan Haigh

Tranquility Show

June has rolled around again and it will soon be time for me to have another show at the Salt Spring Gallery. I have been continuing to expand my horizons beyond flowers, pun intended, and have put together a show of new paintings, titled ' Tranquility'. It is a collection of landscapes and peaceful images from nature. The show will open June 28 and run until July 10, with an opening reception June 28, 5 - 8 pm.

With increasing awareness of the reality of climate disruption growing on our minds and as our busy lives threaten to spin us out of control, it gets harder to allow ourselves to do just nothing and enjoy a moment of calm. Spending time alone in nature helps us find the peace and clarity we need to make the right choices in our lives. I am a firm believer in the restorative properties of nature. There, I find moments when the rest of the world and all its attendant issues fall away and a peaceful equilibrium is restored. Everyone needs moments like this.

Beach Paintbrush 24" x 24" oil on canvas

I am always seeking places that are unsullied by human meddling but realize on closer inspection that we have made our mark just about everywhere.

In my painting 'Fairy Lake', the view is from a forestry campground created as a condition of the logging companies permit to clear cut healthy biodiverse forests and turn them into tree farms.

In 'Beach Paintbrush' the bleached white logs are likely escapees from log booms and have come to rest on Khea Beach, pushed up by the waves to above the high tide line, they create a bit of shelter for Indian paintbrush, beach grass and purple beach pea.

Beach Paintbrush 24" x 24" oil on canvas

The autumn scene of 'Tranquility' used for my show poster, the land rolls down the hill to the south through an orchard before returning to native bush and forest layers. Further down the hill, unseen but not unknown, Booth Bay cuts into the land and the forest of Mt Erskine rises beyond. Here in this delightful green world the wind rustles (or blasts) the trees, a riot of pollen gently wafts and the air is filled with bird song and an evening frog chorus. Of course there is the occasional distant vehicle, machinery or seaplane to be heard as well as the low hum of the Crofton Mill. This is a level of tranquility I can live with, magnanimously accepting the fact that I must share this world with others. All I ask is that people respect each other and make decisions based on what is best for the planet. We have done so much harm, it is time to turn the tide on our destructive habits.

Aware of how fortunate I am to live on Salt Spring Island, I am also aware that my idyllic life is not the norm. Baffled by a seeming lack of respect for each other and the planet we live on, I puzzle over world events and read books like Mike Berners-Lee’s ‘There is no Planet B’. Although some might think I have my head in the sand as I only paint the beauty I see, not the destruction, I believe that showcasing the treasures and solace that can be found in nature makes heart connections for the viewer to their own special places. In turn, this sparks renewed conviction that it is crucial to increase efforts to preserve and protect the precious balance of nature that supports us.

In 1987 I heard David Suzuki's Rio summit talk 'The Power of One'. From that day forward, in an effort to preserve Amazon rain forests, I have not eaten meat, taking to heart the notion that my one in a million voice is important and can make a difference. More and more people are making similar decisions but we need a tsunami of caring for our planet to bring about the changes necessary to halt the tide of destruction. In a quiet place we can contemplate issues such as these and perhaps find our direction in the larger scheme of things.

In so many ways, to be alone in nature without distractions and busyness is very important to our well being and if you add walking in nature to the mix along with breathing in all that oxygen rich air you are well on your way to a healthy life.

In my painting 'The Road to Heaven', the lowering sun shafts through the trees casting shadows on the road that leads to a beach where peace and quiet can almost always be found and at the end of the day ethereal or mind blowing sunsets can relax one into a state of bliss.

This show is my way of sharing a bit of my peaceful take on the world, hoping the viewer will enjoy soaking up a little tranquility and leave with a feeling that we have a planet that is worth protecting.

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