Fiction – Crowded Into An Artist’s View

Pigments added. Paint swirled and slathered onto the canvas with one stroke after another. The artist stepped away from the canvas. He knew better than to touch the paint. He needed to wait until it dried or he would end up with a painting that was something different. Other artists kept several canvases rotating to keep busy but he wasn’t interested in busy. He knew that busy led to work unsouled and he would have none of that. He was an artist not a production line.

Walking out of his studio and down the street, the artist stopped at a dark brown wooden stand covered with vines and ordered a double espresso and leaned against the counter. He watched commuters through the raindrops streaming down the plastic coated walls of the shack’s entrance. Those bodies gliding by let out big sighs as their shoulders slumped slightly forward from the weight of their briefcases and the responsibilities they carried into the day. The artist sipped his espresso and smelled tropical fruit and cigarettes. He wasn’t sure if the mixture was perfume or shampoo and cigarettes but the combination made his stomach turn and he shifted his nose away from the woman standing near him and closer to the street.

Puddles splashed as the lights turned green. Black umbrellas merged together at the curb like a school of fish nibbling on the edge of the reef, scattering as the light changed colours. Another sip of coffee. The artist waited for paint to dry or so thought the girl as she sat in front of the artist tacked on the wall of the gallery.

Her shoes were scuffed. She hated that. She loved new shoes and it was always sad for her when they showed signs of wear. She tried explaining that fact to her mother but her mother would not accept signs of wear as a reason for her not to use her shoes before she outgrew them. The girl looked at the man in the painting. His hands were covered in paint and the look on his face. She wished her dad had that look. He was always looking so grumpy and telling her to be quiet. Her dad would be one of those men under the umbrellas. He would never stand in a cafe drinking an espresso.

She wished she could paint like that thought the security guard as he watched the little girl sitting on the bench. They rarely sat so still. Usually the kids ran through the rooms without taking more than a moment’s glance at the artwork but this girl was different. She was examining the painting from the bench and seemed mesmerised by the scene in front of her. It was one of his favourite paintings and the reason he picked up painting as a hobby. Composition was such a challenge but working in the museum made it easier. He just picked a scene and mimicked it on Sunday afternoon.

The guard watched the girl as the girl watched the painting and the artist watched them all drying for another day or two.

(I joined a writer’s group in Munich called the writer’s group. The group has a theme for each meeting which means that I must write a story based on the theme. The first theme was crowd watching. Initially I went to the museum and wrote a story but my ipad ate the story and it took me a week before I felt like writing another story to replace the first one. Does anyone else go through that kind of crap? Anyways, here is the story I wrote for the group. I’m sharing it with you and you are welcome to give feedback. I’m not sure I accomplished what I was trying to do but you can let me know. It was written in an hour so you will not break my heart with constructive comments)