Ritika was holding the paintbrush and staring at the blank canvas on the easel. The picture was clear in her head, yet she could not paint.
She visualized painting of a man riding a horse with the Sun in the background- just over the horizon. She didn’t want to specify whether it was a sunset or a sunrise. Ritika looked out of the window- the Sun was setting. What if she looked at the painting of the Sun, how would she know? The optimist in her would say sunrise, but the romantic in her would dream about sunset. Rohan, her husband, would have joked ‘If the Sun is in West it’s sunset. If it is in the East it is sunrise’. She chuckled.
After few hours, she had a painting before her. However, it was far from what she had in her mind. The bright hues and the white horse, she hadn’t picturized them like that. The rider, who could put Greek gods to shame. Why a man? Why not a woman? Can’t a woman ride a horse? If it was a man, why did he have to be so good looking? Why can’t it be the regular guy-next-door? It would look real. Would it allow the viewer in? The only thing she was satisfied with was water and its reflection. It was symbolic of purity, fertility, life, renewal, and transformation. It gave the spectator freedom to interpret the way they liked.
She liked to draw the audience in. She believed it made them appreciate the art more. Let them bring in their world with them. Let them become one with the painting, let them invest their time, and bring their perspectives along with their prejudices. She acknowledged we all, no matter how much we try not be, were prejudiced. A painting remained exciting to look at, because of the manner in which it captures the imagination of the viewer.
An idea struck her, she put the ephemera aside. She started on a fresh canvas. She didn’t make a man or a woman. Instead, she chose to paint a silhouette of a rider sitting on a horse with the sun in the background and the water with the rider’s reflection. Finally, when she was done she felt calmness over herself like tranquil water in the painting.
(c) 2018 Priya U Bajpai