The Sentinel

At first glance, this painting seems ominous; the ship is in peril, and disaster awaits.
Why do we jump to conclusions when presented with a story or, in this case, a painting? When did we lose our curiosity to discover facts? Why are different points of view so challenging to consider, and how do we navigate through a sea of misinformation?

Storm clouds in “The Sentinel” hint at the challenges ahead. The relentless swell threatens to engulf the vessel, a stark reminder of the unpredictable trials that define our lives. Yet, amid the chaos, the question lingers – is the ship under the command of a seasoned captain skillfully steering toward a safe harbour? Or is it blindly hurtling toward treacherous rocks? Life unfolds as a series of choices, and we must carefully navigate these waters. We are custodians of our destinies. Warnings often reach our ears, imploring us to reconsider our course. Yet, the allure of the unknown, the magnetic pull of challenges, propels us forward into the heart of the storm. It is in our nature to face danger head-on, to embrace the thrill of the unknown. In adversity, a delicate balance exists between caution and courage.

We are both the ship and the lighthouse. We are custodians, guards, lookouts and travellers in this intricate dance of our and others’ lives. Every warning, whether explicit or subtle, presents an opportunity to overcome and emerge stronger on the other side. As we navigate the seas of uncertainty, we discover the safe harbours that await us beyond the storm, beyond the edge of this painting.
As sentinels, we stand watch over these tumultuous seas and each other, Looking for warning signs and helping our fellow travellers through calm seas or roaring storms.

As travellers, the southerly swell may be formidable, and the warnings may be loud, but we press forward. We embrace challenges, navigate storms, and, in doing so, we uncover hidden truths, or do we flounder among rumours and lies?

I had named this painting Southerly Swell; there is a sense of Wellington and the South coast here, and many memories of looking out to the airport from the deck of my home in Te Anau Rd, Hataitai, 30 years ago. Seeing a southerly front approaching was quite the spectacle.
We are the navigators, the captains, and the sentinels – forever bound to the seas of uncertainty. Don’t believe everything you see; take the time to look further, ask questions, and make the time to listen. Every person has a story to tell.​​​​

The sentinel, Oil on Linen 150 cm x 95 cm

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