Bryce Widom | This Painting Is Not about Koi
Through the ValleyThrough the ValleyChalkboard for Boulder's Southern Sun Pub & Brewery, spring of 2014.
At the end of the season, the chalkboard was erased.


This Painting Is Not about Koi

August 18, 2015  •  2 Comments

This painting is not about koi.

It's about the perfection of this very moment. The harmony that underlies even the most unnerving frustration and overwhelming chaos of our day-to-day lives.

We know the storms and struggles inherent in relationship and friendship and family. We're intensely familiar with the challenges in career and purpose. And we are often pushed and pulled, twisted and tangled and ensnared.

And some days, we forget who we really are.

When painting this piece, I was in full-contact intimacy with the stresses of marriage, and children, and my looming mortgage; painting deadlines, a pile-up of bills, and doubts about my value as an artist.

And yet - as happens every time I find the courage to straight-on face an empty canvas - I discovered a singular moment of spaciousness. A pinhole of light and breath in a dark, dark ocean.

As commitment to the moment deepened, the light and breath expanded.

My hands swam over the canvas, sketching in the forms of two koi in their underwater dance of round-and-round. My brush gathered oils of ocean blues and golden yellows, simmering oranges and creamy whites, and I dabbed and spread and blended the colors across the emerging universe before me.

And I saw how these two koi were dancing the same dance I was, of yin and yang and push and pull, of sweat and tears and heartache.

And how, in this moment of maximum stress, there was a poignancy, a perfection, so easily missed in its subtlety; just beneath the raw tumult and rough carnage of the surface waves, I re-contacted the grace that gives birth to all forms.

My wild and occasionally clumsy ride with marriage and fatherhood, my nagging doubts with career and money and purpose, these apparent "problems" were seen and experienced as none other than the unfolding of Perfection itself, beautiful and mysterious (and often perplexing).

So these two koi, captured in this moment of paired circularity, were embodying the very nature of life itself, and in this realization, a deepening and perfect comprehension rippled through my being.

More space...

...Deeper breath.

"Water"At the Water Studio altar, <a href=">Hanuman Festival</a> 2014. Photo Credit: Tony F Photography.

"Water", featured at the Water Studio altar, Hanuman Festival 2014. Photo Credit: Tony F Photography.

For this painting is not about koi.

This is a painting about life.

With gratitude for the opportunity to serve yet more deeply,




david welsh(non-registered)
What beautiful comments about your Koi painting and life itself! Your thinking, your doubts, which you overcame, your struggles,all tug at the heart. It is only through pain and extreme diligence, that you achieve and become a great Artist!
Congratulations - I think you have indeed, arrived!!
Ahhh.... exactly what I needed to see, to read and to remember. Now I am laughing at myself; not harshly, but with amusement. Thank you for the beauty you share, the beauty of you.
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