I see Sanctuary as a place of safety, quiet, and reflection.
We live in the Information Age, a time of instant connectivity; with so much information it makes it hard to think. Sanctuary is an isolated spot, physical or mental, where all the noise and distractions are removed, where it is possible to wonder and reflect. It is a place outside the grid of schedules, opinion, events, and all the noise, a place free from human conceit and device. I seek the woods as my escape, the windswept shore my refuge.
Nature is my Muse.
There is a hermit who lives inside my head, who likes nothing more than the sound of leaves underfoot, the wind in the trees, and the seashore as it constantly changes, wave by wave, sand grain by grain….
Finding sanctuary is to “get away from it all”, to allow our senses to refresh, and to reaffirm our connection with Eternity.
Top Image: David Wade, Subliminal, archival pigment print, 15 x 20, 2018
Where do I “go” to find a safe place to Be?
Nature has always been a Sanctuary for my tender soul. I have been fortunate to have grown up with woods as my backyard and as my friend. Later in life, I chose to build a small self-sufficient cabin on a wooded hillside in the midst of rural farmlands. Later still, I found my place in the soulful desert southwest. And now I am in Maine, whose character shapes mine. Each landscape has nurtured me in ways that have forever shaped my Being and my creations.
As a Maker, my wood carving studio is certainly my personal Sanctuary where I can work without interruption or just stare and watch ideas flow through my mind. I protect that space by mainly making it too dusty and cluttered for anyone to walk into. The windows have a perpetual protective layer of wood dust to keep curious eyes from looking in. Strategically kept cobwebs are also a good deterrent.
As my body grows older and I have increasingly embraced the deaths of loved ones, my Place of Worship has expanded beyond my studio and the natural woodland worlds. My Sanctuary is about the space within, that which connects my Being with an infinite universe…a cosmos of consciousness…that which I will someday merge with. For now, I will embrace the Awe that flows through me and into my creations, perhaps encouraging others to seek their own outer and inner Sanctuaries.
Karen Merritt —That Gentle Down and Drift
there must be a poem
in there, she’d said –
and wouldn’t it begin – as always – with the motion?
theirs and ours –
and with our uncertainty – maybe –
about the place of angels
in this world.
or with our unease
or never settled understanding
of whether it is benevolence we’re after
or whether they are here to protect us
or to watch us
or maybe just to serve
as a singlechord reminder of the order of these things –
them, out there
us, in here
or the reverse of all that, maybe –
that that fullwingedflutter underneath my skin
that one that might be fear –
is in fact an understanding
that something larger still presides
with a rolling shouldered grace
that feels like love
or could be just a reminder
that i am the one out here who’s wandering –
that i am the one who’s passing through.
The images of bird flocks in my work refer to the theme of migration and sanctuary as an inevitable and universal means of survival.
While clearly representational, and inspired by the patterns of avian forms against a vast sky, the paintings also speak symbolically to a shared sense of urgency in the search for a safe haven.
Migrating birds seem a poignant reminder of the earth’s life cycles, and, in a metaphorical sense, the strength of the whole as a sum of parts.
When I am working in my studio, looking carefully at each individual bird in the context of its flock, my mind drifts to other groups getting from one place to another, seeking refuge, or the right to survive. I feel the paintings asking “will we get where we need to go?”