(Picture swiped from here.)
vixyish asked me to paint a kanji on her for her wedding (in blue, of course.) The character above was the natural choice - it's a Chinese character consisting of two repetitions of the character for "happiness" - it means marital bliss in a his-happiness-is-her-happiness sort of way.
However, the individual character, Ki (happiness) is... well... hard to calligraph with a straight face. I tried several times over the three weeks right before the wedding to get a calligraphy that echoed properly to me, and acquired a long string of failures. (vixyish was very patient, considering she was in insane-bride godzilla mode. Good thing we don't live in Tokyo.) The problem is the etymology. Look at the character. A square at the bottom, a mouth. Then above that a cooking pot on a stand. And at the very top, the + with a line at the base - a plant. This character literally means, "to eat soft vegetables!" Every time I sat down to draw the doubled version, I got mental images of vixyish and gfish sitting down to a nice meal of strained carrots or parsnips. Pea soup! If I did that for the wedding, she'd be walking down the aisle, and I'd be humming Lewis Carroll's Beautiful Soup to myself and cackling madly.
Giggling makes for poor calligraphy, and I drew and discarded this character at least 40 times, increasingly frantic as the wedding approached. It just didn't feel right, and I really didn't want to let vix wear a wrong calligraphy for this.
This is 'ai'. Love. Two days before the wedding, I asked vix if she'd mind a kanji switch. She didn't.
This one's in three parts. In the center is the character for heart/thoughts/soul, flames and flowers, encircled by an arch. Above and below are what were once a pair of footprints -the crisscross thing at the bottom and the shape suggested by the ticks at the top. The feet mean 'all around', so with the encircled heart, you have 'that which completely envelops the heart.' Love.
Love that overflows the heart, that lingers in footsteps and motions and smiles and laughter. I mixed the ink and waited for the footsteps in a silence drawn thin and musical and shimmering like glass. When the scent of vanilla came to me, I dipped the brush and began painting, vanilla and music and warmth encircled by flamelines and arches.
I was happy with the first attempt.
Congratulations, vixyish and gfish.