The Tears of Siva

Essay for The Tears of Siva drawing.

The efforts you make to obtain precious items will work against your personal relationships. Or so asserts The Tears of Siva, a pen and ink on watercolor paper drawing.

If you’re familiar with the 1950’s Bold Venture radio play The Tears of Siva, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, then you know Julius Cordovan’s folly was his obsession with two gorgeous star sapphires that were “without fleck or flaw, the treasure of the Far Indies, Genghis Khan laid a city to waste for these.”

Cordovan destroyed many people, including a friend, in pursuit of his treasure.

I’ve drawn what I imagine one of these sapphires might look like, in the form of a teardrop near the drawing’s top. The base monolith is the face of humanity, and the tear represents our attempt to own, or restrict, precious items.

The drop’s color is unique to the drawing—it’s only used in this one spot. Yet on the monolith itself, each color that symbolizes a personal relationship is also unique. Each shade of blue is one of a kind.

That’s key. None of the drawing’s thirteen blues are repeated, which indicates that no object of desire is more precious than life itself—specifically, human relationships.

Our personal connections exceed our precious gems. Why are we hunting commodities, when valuables are already on hand—our loved ones? Our labors absorb our attentions and erode what we already possess.

You want “this,” but you have something already. Time and energy away from your people begs the questions: What is more important to you? What is really most precious here?

This picture was drawn in the summer of 2009, during two mini-vacations in seaside Ogunquit, Maine. I’d bought several blue Prismacolor Premier art markers in New York City just prior to my trip to Maine, and as I selected the pens from the large turnstile carousels, I liked how the colors “talked” to each other in my hands—the hues looked great together. If they talked so well in a busy West 57th Street art store, I wondered how they might get along on paper, given an Atlantic Ocean breeze, a private Perkins Cove vantage point and hours upon hours of un-interrupted drawing.

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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