An artist more talented than Van Gogh or da Vinci, she paints a beautiful piece fully in pastel. Brightly colored smiles and warm eyes. Viewers glance and beam at this cheerful painting of a belle.
A viewer “ooh”s and “ahh”s at the masterpiece in front of her, feeling admiration, insecurity, and jealousy all at once. “Oh, why could the universe not have bestowed an ounce of talent upon me?” she laments, feeling like an incompetent dunce.
Little does she know the complexities of the piece in front of her. The rip at the edge of the canvas, held together by gesso, is a secret known to none, and she doesn’t notice the knobbly bump underneath the vibrant yellow sun.
Little does the viewer know that every morning, the artist repaints the pastel colors brighter than the day before. The colors can’t fade away. The canvas can’t reveal itself to the beaming viewers who expect sunlight to forever stay.
The viewer doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that beneath those lively colors lies a canvas with anything but. Dusky grays, smudged charcoal, her sweat and tears. Droplets of blood from the impact of the cut.
They don’t know the days and nights it took the artist to create the most graceful, flawless work that made others feel warm inside. It wasn’t easy. She started off with angry eyes, shadows covering the canvas. Fearfully, people sighed.
But now it’s different. All the frustrations, doubts, and mistakes of the past have manifested into something beautiful. Maybe the artist should stop painting her face. Hopefully one day she can wash the pretty pastel colors off and bring the faithful viewers back to base.
But today, she will still continue to paint the pastel face with warm eyes, curving the smile up high with her thumb. And all I can do is stare at her with admiration and say, “Wow, what an artist she’s become.”