Here is what Winston Churchill said of painting:
“I am never going to have anything more to do with politics or politicians. When this war is over I shall confine myself entirely to writing and painting.”
I find it both fascinating and encouraging, as an artist, that when Churchill moved off of the world stage he chose writing and painting as worthwhile pursuits and recognized, perhaps, the healing quality of such endeavors. No doubt the winds of adversity howled mightily as Churchill had to take a strong stance – often alone – and deal with enormous consequences. But he persevered and we in the west and even the world owe a great debt of gratitude to a man who led the fight against tyranny and said we would never, no never give up. We enjoy freedoms today because someone was willing to put themselves on the line. No doubt in the midst of the turmoil his mind and emotions went through a pummeling that few in the world can ever comprehend.
It was at the end of all this that Churchill chose to pursue writing and painting.
The sensitivity it takes to observe the visible world and also sense it’s unseen qualities, take it all in and then carefully craft words or pictures that interpret things that are “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise”* is something that benefits others. However this same sensitivity feels intense pain when life is difficult and is heavily weighted down by life’s trials. One cannot escape the fact that this sensitivity is both beneficial and, if not dealt with in a healthy way, injurious to one’s own health and mental well-being.
Churchill was wise then in acknowledging that there needed to be a break in the seasons of life. After intense years of pressure there needed to be years of meaningful, yet reflective contemplation.
The wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, wrote these words:
For everything there is a season,
A time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time for harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
In this season of artistic endeavor, if you are in a time of tumultuous adversity or in that season of peace, may you find comfort and nurture of soul in times spent in taking in the beauty of the visual world and interpreting it for the uplifting of others and the healing balm of your own heart.