Zion as Sanctuary
These days I turn to the words of beloved poet Mary Oliver: “The beauty and strangeness of the world may fill the eyes with its cordial refreshment. Equally, it may offer the heart a dish of terror. On one side is radiance; on another is the abyss”. This expression of awareness seems so apt as we experience the tumultuous ravaging of the COVID-19 virus. Yet, simultaneously, we deeply yearn for solace and beauty in nature’s ready brilliance—in flowers, mountains, the sea, stars and people.
It is this radiance that I sought while creating six paintings interpreting our cherished and beautiful land found in America’s national parks. In subsequent blogs, I will detail each one, but the first painting finished is a 30” x 30” painting on canvas of Zion National Park in Southwest Utah titled “Zion As Sanctuary”. While visiting the area, the majestic sandstone cliffs called out to me. I sensed an intensity hovering in the dark shadows. I marveled at the sublime, and yet powerful, colors blended within the sandstone cliffs. Joyfully I looked up at the clear azure blue sky and marveled some more. I walked the narrow valley surrounded by this towering beauty—treading the same path as the ancients. How humbling!
In early December 2019, I was recovering from a severely fractured ankle. This forced quiet time afforded me a perfect opportunity to research and reflect on how this current administration is systematically dismantling our vibrant, sublime and gorgeous national parks. Why? Because, some powerful, uncaring individuals want to mine and drill these sacred lands for the benefit and profits of fossil fuel, uranium, and other exploitive industries. While disturbed by what I learned, having those moments to paint quietly without interruption–to put brush to canvas to show my concern through art–soothed and nurtured me.
I guess you could also say that I was prepping for the isolation and “shelter-in-place” rules we are currently, and necessarily experiencing. Now, with the frightening realities of the COVID-19 pandemic occurring at a time when we need to find solace in nature’s spring gifts, many of the parks throughout our land have been partly shuttered. In looking ahead, I am hopeful for the joyous occasions when everyone can revisit the lands and enjoy the bountiful beauty.
My artwork is available for sale. If you are interested, please contact me through my website: www.maryloudauray.com
Thank you and stay safe and well.
Contact Mary Lou Dauray with any questions.