by LJ Frank
As an artist there are moments when I suspect that if the picture on the canvas of my mind was visible it might depict a river with isolated pools of pristine clarity. And yet one would also find inlets discolored and muddy, reeds jutting up from the bottom that would cause my thoughts to beg for patience and stamina to swim through the mysterious watery jungle. Still, the center of the river would retain a consistent flow that gravitates toward an open sea of mingled consciousness and wisdom. A place where my artistic soul could be nurtured.
On a particular day this past week a Baroque piece of music from my radio was playing a Bach concerto that offered an asymmetrical texture to my art studio with its early 20th century urban industrial architecture of brick walls, barnwood flooring, vaulted beam ceiling, tarnished nickel-plated pendant lights and tall, arched, divided glass windows.
I talked to myself while mixing a palette of colors from tubes of oils and began applying the paint to an oversized canvas with a long handle pig bristle brush. A glob of oil hung briefly at the end of the bristles waiting to be applied and as I did here and there in a process that allowed me to express myself freely not knowing for sure of the result, regardless of the flow of my vision. I was under no pretense in where the painting might take me and yet…I had only the will of my hand and heart to allow the brush to discern my fate.
While indulging my free spirit I heard an earthy feminine voice whisper. “Are you sure this is what you seek?”
I glanced over towards the radio and the music was still playing. I then looked around the room. Perhaps I was hallucinating. I shrugged and proceeded.
With each stroke the painting appeared to come to life as the limbs of the figure were now extending out from the painting and wrapping around my waist and drawing me into the painting itself. I then noticed the woman’s mouth in the painting move. She stopped. Her lips parted, “I’ve been waiting for the wisdom of your heart to recognize me.”
“I don’t understand,” I stated when I noticed something odd about the painting. It was a duplication of my art studio. “What?”
“Now, do you understand? I am the one painting you.” She smiled. “Now you’re mine to indulge and nurture.”