War and Peace

I first posted this on 25th February 2014.    Six months later, and the madness continues.      

My desire to be well informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.’  Matt Keeland

This quote resonated with me and indeed recently, I have changed my habit of turning on the BBC news first thing in the morning, and replacing it with beautiful music.

I listen to the news and read newspapers a little later in the day when I feel more fortified, more able to harness a constructive, positive attitude.

Because I believe that a picture speaks a thousand words, I chose the following images which express the polar opposites of destruction and construction, of war and peace. 

During the Bosnian war, (1992 – 1995) I saw a photograph of a young child ravaged by the madness of war.     I made two paintings from the photograph.

As a child of war, she represents all the other children who have, and are suffering because of the madness and greed that war brings.


In the second painting I focused on the little girls face….a face blank with shock and yet filled with horror.

We tend to be overwhelmed when we see stark images of whole cities in Syria being destroyed and given the immediacy of social networks and photographs flying around the world at break neck speeds, we have become desensitised…..making it easy for us to ignore and deny.     

By looking into the eyes of this child of war, we come closer to our own children, and our human interconnection.


This post is about the polar opposites of destruction and construction, war and peace. 

These two quick watercolour portraits of young girls, (probably about the same age as The Child of War) were painted when I spent the day with children from the Mission Hill School in Boston, USA. 

Their eyes are bright….and full of hope.


They express a sense of life, rather than sorrow……they are children of peace.


Then there is the innocent baby….a blank canvas to be filled in by life.


Quoting, Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘Each particle is a microcosm, and faithfully renders the likeness of the world’. 

All of life is interconnected, and I believe that only when we understand and accept this, that maybe humankind will stop the madness of war. 

This post was inspired by the face of a child I saw on the news last night.   Standing in the ruins of Homs, Syria, the distress in the child’s eyes was overwhelmingly tragic. 


A Bientôt


18 thoughts on “War and Peace

  1. gini

    Janet, the oneness of it all. Seeing through the eyes of Source brings me a wee bit of Peace when witnessing War. Love Light and Peace.. Blessed Be.. ❤ An awakening post.. I must smile… I hold the light. xx

  2. Pingback: War and Peace | Mark Geoffrey Kirshner

  3. snowbird

    I had goosebumps reading this and looking at your fantastic paintings. What a beautiful post, you are so right about how easy it is to forget about individual suffering, and the more people see scenes of war the less they empathize.You have made it about the individual….and powerful it is.xxx

  4. Rose Tinted Ramblings

    Reblogged this on In the Pink and commented:
    Janet is a wonderfully talented watercolour artist and her blog is conscise and insightful. The quote “My desire to be well informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.’ Matt Keeland ; reminds me of my state of mind last year and the promise I made myself for 2014 to take one step back “be aware but not engulfed”….

  5. Peter Wells aka Countingducks

    I am so pleased to find this post and this Blog, and the powerful images you have produced, and the statement behind them. It is in the voiced outrage and horror of ordinary folk that peace may come again. That by speaking out we may shame the violent into lowering their weapons. It is a small hope, but it is something. W. H. Auden wrote

    “All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie, the romantic lie in the brain of the sensual man-in-the-street and the lie of Authority whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State and no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice to the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die.” in 1939.

    He was right then, and he is right now.


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