This painting, Go Forth, was a custom piece based on this quote by St. Ignatius of Loyola:
"Go forth and set the world on fire."
About the person this was commissioned for - I can't do her justice to describe her in words, but in painting and actions I can make an attempt to show her strength in challenging circumstances and her humility in success. To paint this piece, I imagined the effect she has on anyone around her in light of her favorite quote above. A few of the words that came to mind while brainstorming: loyal, resilient, compassionate, diligent, patient, intelligent. How can those be painted?
I chose to focus on what stands out to me - her bright presence (光 in Japanese). I don't mean bubbly, bright, fluorescent but rather a soft, inviting light; "bright" in a humble, strong, introvert sort of way. She has a strong but gentle presence; she makes anyone's day brighter by being around and continually lifts other people up. She's active in making a positive impact both in and far beyond her community. Those qualities are expressed in each element of the piece, from bold lines, broad strokes, splashes, drips, to expanding reflective squares.
I was blessed, not lucky, to meet her seemingly by chance on a walk two springs ago. For some reason for a few minutes that day, I was uncharacteristically outgoing. Unless I need directions to the nearest bathroom or bakery, it's not often that I'll go beyond a smile and greeting while walking by a stranger and initiate a new friendship. I'm glad I was out of character in that moment because she is a gift. I'm grateful to know her and call her a friend.
Detail | Go Forth | sumi ink, pigments, oil on canvas | 30x48"