One of my sister-in-laws is an extraordinary artist. Over the years you've been reading this blog I've shared a handful of examples, so you may already know this. You see, she's made a habit of using my children as sources for quite a few of her pieces. I'm always in awe of how brilliantly she captures them and how intriguing it is to see their essence reflected through her unique eye. However, a few weeks ago, she contacted Gina and I to seek permission to start a new piece. My first reaction found it odd, as she'd never reached out to ask permission to paint my children before (and I never thought she would need to, either). But when she revealed the image she wished to paint it became clear why she was cautious to proceed.
Every Wednesday, Gina goes to Orange County to teach several of her yoga classes, and she has the kids stay at my in-laws while she's doing so. It's a weekly ritual and all parties lend a hand. On these nights, just before Gina picks them back up, the girls all take a shower upstairs and wash their hair. My in-laws have a beautiful walk-in stone shower with exceptional lighting and colors. It was this image that my sister-in-law wanted to paint, but given the nature of the girls being exposed, she didn't want to cross any boundaries. I appreciate that. I'm also sad that this is what the world is now. You can see the finished image below. It's not unlike hundreds of masterpieces hanging on the walls of the Louvre or the Academia d'elle Arte. It captures beauty, and warmth. It takes you to a place of wonder and familiarity. It exudes love and youth, joy and mystery. But we now have to post trepidatiously. We have to wonder if some creep behind a screen sees something more, something sinister, something that a decent person could not imagine. For that I appreciate my sister-in-law's concern. I take comfort in her desire to protect my children in spite of the artists draw inside her that yearns to create a magical image. And because of that, I trusted that she would take care with my children. That she wouldn't allow something unintended to emerge. That she would create something so brilliantly that one could not see anything but the intended beauty and warmth. And personally, I believe she did. I share with you here, The Three Graces by Alkisti Richards