The painting shows an Indian woman holding a lighted candle in one hand, the other hand covering the light of the candle from the front. The woman is in a simple and traditional Indian saree.
Even though I first saw this painting in 1977 it is one of those images that a camera can never capture and stays forever in your memory. I just remember walking round the Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery of the Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore, very tired after a long day wandering and came into the darkened room where this painting hung, it just seemed to come to life and i stood there transfixed for what seemed like ages, taking in every detail…….. and her hand really seemed to be glowing in the candle’ light.
The woman who is holding the candle is Gita Haldankar, the third daughter of the artist H.L. Haldankar.
The young woman had to stay in the perpetual position for three hours continuously. Furthermore, he made this portrait with watercolours. H.L. Haldankar used this as his medium because he wanted to show the world that he can make a painting without a single mistake, unlike the oil paint which can be corrected using white paint.