This is a famous, thousand-year-old, terra cotta statue of Buddha, from the Chinese Sung Dynasty, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The reference photo, which I cannot find to share, was taken several years ago during my family's annual visit to Minnesota. My husband's elderly aunt and uncle took us to the great museum, with a fantastic collection of Asian art. Dear Aunt Betty, who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, passed away a couple of years ago, so the painting is dedicated to her.
Buddha's gentle expression restores calm whenever I look at the picture, so I decided to paint the statue. I have actually painted it in acrylic several years ago, not just the statue, but also the entire section of the museum where it is installed, plus the scenery outside! I failed very badly despite my numerous attempts to save it. The large painting (18 x 24") was not good enough to be donated to the annual Patrons Show at the Art League in Alexandria, VA. I couldn't possibly toss it into the trash either. So it has been sitting in my office since. Doing a small, reasonably good painting finally released me from suffering.
Buddha, the Enlightened One, has taught that there are two causes to manyfold sufferings of the mankind--desire and aversion. When you want something (or someone) terribly, your desire will result in pain. If you dislike, hate, abhor something (or someone) intensely, you will also suffer. By wanting to paint the statue well, I have suffered. No more.
As you may have guessed, I am a Buddhist. I grew up in a Buddhist family in Korea, but didn't think much of the religion. In my thirties, I rediscovered my heritage and have been trying to live by the Enlightened One's teachings--mindfully and with loving kindness. It's not easy for someone who is impatient and passionate (you know passion can go both ways!). But I will continue to do my best.