The Peace of Wild Things

by | Sep 25, 2020

egg tempera painting of gull by Daniel Ambrose

I’m With Him, egg tempera painting.

In January 2020, my solo show opened at Hughes Gallery and I was swinging my brush for a summer show at Cheryl Newby Gallery, that included these 2 egg tempera paintings, I’m With Him, and I’m With Her.

Then the world upended.

Among the artist tribe, daily battling our inner demons of doubt, procrastination and envy is difficult enough without external pressures of economic uncertainty, gallery closings and travel restrictions amidst a pandemic. The intrinsic qualities of original art must be experienced in person.

Over the summer, in phone and social media conversations with my artist peers, we took a collective sigh. We acknowledged the sense of helplessness, divisiveness and global heartbreak.

We encouraged each other to just keep painting. Get out in nature and go inward in our studios.

Seek the commonalities in our humanity. Celebrate the beauty of our higher natures and shun the ugliness of our baseness. Encourage faith not fear, inclusion not exclusion and love not hate.

Throughout my life, in times of unease, I return to my source. I walk the beach, finding inspiration in the energy of the waves, the colors of changing water and the feathered grace of birds. The ocean assures me of continuity. Even the most ferocious wave dissipates when it meets the placid shore. This too shall pass and the rebuilding begins.

I’m With Her.

And I wander passages of scripture and poetry in my library of books and find comfort in words like these by Wendell Berry in his poem, The Peace of Wild Things.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


  1. Mary E Randolph

    It is indeed our higher nature that must prevail with God’s blessing. My walks on the beach my evenings on my front porch
    Feeding the little wild creatures who come by to dine on Cat food. The soft cool breezes off the ocean as the summer heat is breaking. They all seem undisturbed by man’s problems .and I can sleep so much better.

  2. Mary

    Thank you for your beautiful words and paintings, my friend.

  3. nancy bush

    Daniel, such a lovely serene painting, emotionally gripping. Thanks for sharing. I, too, wonder where we are and where we are going in this turmoil we all share. I wish for you the best of everything and peace and unity for us all.

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