I love my wife. She made me a painting.
It’s a framed piece, about 30 inches wide and 40 inches high. Yes, I just measured it. That’s a substantial size, big enough to take up half a wall. Its large wooden frame is cracked and dented from being dropped over the years. It was painted on paper, using watercolor, acrylic, pencils and who knows what else. I wouldn’t be surprised if she used markers, dye, egg yolk and voodoo as well. I couldn’t possibly explain her artistic process but I can attempt to describe this painting. My painting.
The subject of the picture is an ethereal white figure of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god. The breaker of obstacles. My wife swears he wasn’t part of the original painting, he just popped out of the abstract one day sitting in yogic posture and gazing serenely ahead. What makes the entire thing so arresting is that Ganesha himself is more suggested than outlined, an elephant man in flowing robes who is made of paint. Paint that is escaping his body and dripping toward the sky.
The background of the artwork is primarily a kaleidoscopic blue field of many shades. Mingled across it are shadows of greens, yellows, whites, and the stray rivulets of Lord Ganesha. The entire thing is chaos- dark blue splotches on light blue ponds with bright yellow circles outlined in thin white pencil. No patterns, just a free-flowing explosion of creativity. Every inch holds a surprise of color or fade or figure or beauty. Underneath the god’s crossed legs is a bed of yellow and white circles that make me think of flowers or straw or sequined pillows depending on my mood. Along the right edge the paint gradually thins and the baby blue gives way to speckles of untouched white paper. I could stare at this painting for the rest of my life and never feel I know it. Always Ganesha stares back, tendrils of energy encircling one outstretched hand and a look of calm knowing in his steady eyes.
I don’t think the she originally knew she was making it for me, but that was its fate. The painting sat prominently on the front wall of her little studio from the day we opened it six months ago. We positioned everything else around this piece, ensuring that it was the first thing visitors saw when they walked in and that it was visible from all the way down the hall. We typed what we thought was a bold $475 price on the small placard with her name. I stood proudly next to this painting month after month, watching people’s eyes light up as they came in the studio door. I got to share my admiration for it and hear others express what it made them feel. I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only one who could see the importance of this treasure as more people lingered than walked by.
After we realized it wouldn’t sell, my wife took it down to make room for her newer pieces. The painting ended up on the wall of my meditation room, sometimes known as the guest bedroom. Every morning at five o’clock I sit in front of a breathtaking work of art, breathe slowly, and feel my heart swell with love. I even hung the $475 price card underneath it to complete the visual.
It is the most beautiful thing I have ever owned and it is not for sale.