Artist's description:

"Soldier On" - acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 20" x 20". Ready for hanging.

This piece was inspired by a trip to the Portland Art Museum. There is an incredible exhibit of primitive sculpture and artifacts in the museum, and some of the faces in those pieces resonate with me yet today, eighteen months after my visit. Many of the faces had a stoic, resolute visage, full of strength and determination. Haunting in their lack of emotion, but serene in their stone silence after thousands of years.

There are moments (ok, sometimes days, weeks...years, even) where strength, determination and resolve are what get us through difficult times or seemingly impossible tasks. Interactions with friends near and far recently have been filled with people facing overwhelming situations and yet managing to push through while keeping their humanness and compassion. Woman who have been deeply wounded by lovers. Men who have lost their wives. Daughters caring for mothers who are terminally ill. An elderly couple whose home burned to the ground. Loss, grief, pain and more loss.

And yet the spirits of these tenacious people are still open to the world, embracing their loss and turning it into blessings for others. They rise each day and make the world better, even while their own world seems dark. They soldier on. And in doing so, and in sharing their stories, they provide strength and resolve for the rest of us, making our own battles and hurdles seem small in comparison. The refocus us on what is good and bright in the world.

I'd like to think the stone museum warriors hold within them the resolve of an ancient people, continuing to provide an example of the triumph of humanity over adversity, giving us strength in modern times.

Materials used:

acrylic, charcoal on gallery wrapped canvas

Soldier On (2016)


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Jen Walls

United States


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