My painting group reconvened last week after a 3 month break. We are a group of retired professional women who met a few years ago at a painting class, and began meeting last fall, at the home of one of the women, to do water colour painting.
Although we were each very much looking forward to getting together again, we also felt the weight of the lingering pandemic and the new fear of a potential world war caused by a Russian tyrant attacking Ukraine. And coincidentally, each person had started the day with an unexpected emergency. So we started our first session of the season late – adding another layer of stress.
After a cup of tea and some time to get caught up with one another, we were ready to choose a topic to paint.
We had all seen pictures of the Ukrainian flag, the blue of clear, calm summer skies above yellow wheat fields, depicting the country as the area’s “breadbasket.”
Someone mentioned sunflowers. They are, after all, Ukraine’s national flower, and over the past few weeks, been used as a sign of solidarity with the beleaguered country. We too, wanted to show our support, in addition to whatever else we were doing to help the people of Ukraine.
We searched for images to inspire our creativity and are thankful for the many ways in which people have expressed and shared their art.
As we painted, we found that despite the worries far and near, we each started relaxing into the comfort of doing something together for a cause – to show our solidarity for the people of Ukraine, who were suffering untold miseries. We shared our issues of the day, gave each other encouragement and suggestions about our paintings, and eventually, we told stories that made us all laugh.
Just as people around the world are sending their prayers for peace and a swift end to this war, these paintings were our prayers. May the skies over Ukraine once again be a clear, hopeful blue, unblemished by the dark planes of war and may the blood-soaked fields once again bloom golden with wheat and sunflowers.
Our small group is an oasis of creativity, companionship, and mutual support. I have found that friendships take time and effort to establish and maintain. I am so grateful to have found such an easy and fun group of like-minded friends.
Note: The title of the featured painting at the top of the post is Solitary “Sunflower Under Darkened Sky” by M.Q.W.