I began working with Ohno in 1999. This picture was painted in 2007, when he turned 100. He had become physically debilitated and was essentially bed-ridden. (He died in July of the same year.)
I made a visit to the bedroom in his house, where his followers were taking turns caring for him, and gathered as much information of all types as I could in the limited time. Here and there in the intimate space of the room were little gifts he had received down through the years from friends and photos. A window left open looked down on street below.
I gazed at him from a position in which the light was coming from directly behind me, and started sketching. In so doing, I lapsed into a hallucinatory vision. The fine wrinkles standing out on his face and hands seemed to blend with those on the bedsheets and his garb. Everything in the room seemed to be equated with everything else. The landscape outside the window from which the light was coming, the view stretching all the way to the horizon - everything in them seemed to have lost its own attributes, reverted to the void, and joined with everything else. The vision was akin to Zen insight. Ohno's body appeared to have melted into the sunlight and merged with the surrounding world. That impression is portrayed in this painting.