How I painted Courageous

Some inspiration behind the painting ‘Courage’.

The Chinese philosopher, Laozi, who was credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism, inspired me by the words, “Because of great love, one is courageous.”

I also wanted to take on the challenge of seeing if I could capture this quality in the abstract and, in doing so, get to the core of what courage really is.

Laozi was right when he said that love inspires courage. Whether it be the love of another person lifting you up or the love and passion to do something that propels you forward. It’s the love that makes us bigger than ourselves, that challenges us to go beyond what was before to see what could be different in our present and our futures.

Love makes courage bolder, brighter and stronger. In my painting, Courageous, the strong cream in bold white strokes is courage. It sits forward, ensuring that anything else is background. This is courage at its most fierce, capturing the spirit. It’s jagged in nature, illustrating the rawness of emotion, the fear and the boldness that accompanies courage. It connects with the light grey and tan lines, which are representative of distraction, but doesn’t engage with them. When one is in a courageous state one sees the distractions but keeps the focus.

In the background there’s also the hint of buildings, emphasising the normalcy, the everyday nature of courage. Courage is not just experienced on the top of a high mountain peak, but in cities and suburbia and in our everyday lives. That’s often where the love is as well.

This painting is perfect for those of us who want to be reminded of the quality and value of courage and would make any living space more vibrant and inspirational.

As Aristotle said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.”

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