I consider myself an artist. Not good enough to compete for a career, back before I was selected for capsuleer training in the Navy -- Mum tried to get me to go to an art school, and I loved the response my (reluctantly submitted) application received. "Needs traditional background training; too many liberties taken with classical subjects." I never liked art schools; too many people with a narrow-field view of what art is.
I'm much happier painting for myself and my friends, anyway. Little things here and there which make me feel real pride in my poor, self-taught abilities.
I was perusing the Intergalactic Summit maybe a week ago -- I don't frequent such channels very much, they're the sorts of places which on old-style maps would be designated with the legend, "Here Be Dragons", much the way null-sec space used to be. My wandering, half-attentive eye caught the wort "art" and I backtracked to see what it was. Sabbott, a member of the Sani Sabik capsuleer corporation Blood Inquisition, was seeking inspired work with which to decorate his home.
I'm not particularly a fan of the Sani Sabik practises; I consider myself to be a modern woman, and things like that strike me as being just a bit on the barbaric side. But I can understand the spirituality behind it. I do read about things; understanding foreign notions helps you relate better to others, after all.
So I was a bit saddened to see that some pilots had offered up little more than smears of red paint on canvas. I can only assume they thought, "Oh, Sani Sabik! They like blood! I'll paint a blood splatter, it'll look excellent hung above the altar!" It grated a bit.
I had little interest in the contest in which Sabbott framed his request. It was simply the challenge, to create a piece of art that would be tasteful to an Amarrian and a Sani Sabik adherent.
I called Ymnaru. A graceful Ni-Kunni woman a few years older than myself, I met Ymna meditating in the hydroponics garden in the station I based from in Arzi years ago. We've stayed in touch, despite our vast cultural differences and her distaste for my choice in career. I think she still hasn't given up on saving me.
After a few hours of discussion, Ymna helped me figure out an appropriately spiritual image. It took another hour for me to convince her to dress in her finer robes and pose in an attitude of prayer for a reference image; she consented only when I offered to change the features of her face in the final painting. Not that she would have worried over a Sani Sabik seeing her face; Ymna is a graciously humble lady and felt very conscious of having her features accented in such a way.
I hadn't realised how intricate Ni-Kunni formal veils could be. I'm rather glad I decided not to paint a full figure, in the end; her robes were incredibly ornate and my fingers still itch to recreate them on paper. Perhaps I'll ask her to pose again someday.
It took the entire week. As with all things, everyday concerns intruded more frequently than I would have liked, and in the end I missed the deadline for Sabbott's competition by but a handful of hours. It would have been the height of hubris to link to the uploaded final image once the contest was over, so I simply sent it along with a note expressing my regrets at being late.
However, since this is my personal journal, I can put the piece up openly without looking like a total boor. I'm quite proud of it. It was a learning experience, both in the preparation and execution.
I call it "Devotion".