Recreationist Theory


This post is written in response to Kozo’s monthly peace challenge at everyday gurus

When I was about 10 and living in Los Angeles, my parents took me and my brother to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Though we came from New Zealand, a land of majestic and awesome scenery, we were aghast at the sheer size of the canyon. When I first got out of the car, for some reason I thought that in front of me was a giant billboard painting, it looked so surreal. “No, it isn’t a painting,” my mother replied. “It’s real.”

I now live in Australia, but I went back to see the Grand Canyon in 2009. You know how when you’re a child, things look enormous, and then when you revisit as an adult, they look so much smaller? This was NOT one of those moments. The big GC was every bit as magnificent as I remembered.

More recently, I saw a remarkable documentary series on America’s national parks, then I found the photos I had taken on the last trip, and I was inspired to try to paint the Grand Canyon as I’d seen it in my mind’s eye as a child.

I am a novice painter and the Grand Canyon is notoriously difficult to paint, but whether the painting is any good or not is irrelevant, really. The point is, the Grand Canyon reminds us of the great beauty in nature that we should be celebrating every day. Painting the Grand Canyon was a creative challenge that I set myself and which took concentration and effort, and trying some bits again and again.

This, I believe, is how creativity can help make a more peaceful world. When you are trying to create or recreate something beautiful, whether it be in an image or in words, whether a piece of writing, a painting, a photo, a sculpture, a garden or a hundred other things, your mind becomes peaceful and focused on the task.

Perhaps it is something to do with that idiom, “Idle hands make the devil’s work”.

11 thoughts on “Recreationist Theory

  1. I love the GC too but for me it is more amazing when you are down in the Colorado River looking up and you feel how tiny you are in the universe.

    • Yes, I have yet to do that. When we visited in 2009, my husband took a helicopter trip that let them off at the bottom, and he too said it was awesome. When I was a child, I was fascinated that donkey rides were offered (though I never got to do that).

  2. great painting and i agree with your thought about freeing the mind to peacefulness by allowing creativity to takeover and flow. well done. ♥

  3. Thank you for reminding me to take my kids to the GC, Caron. Your post and your painting bring a lot of peace to me today, sitting in front of my computer screen. I love your last paragraph about how making art makes your mind become peaceful, focusing on the task. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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