20 July 2016

Patience in Painting

As I promised, here is another entry in the contest hosted at the Creative Writing Ink website. Although this prompt was updated on June 30th, here I am busting it out today. This painting, a piece of Edouard Manet, depicts a gentleman and a lady in a fine boat on the water. Thus, in my opinion, it was a lot more difficult to draft a corresponding short story for this prompt. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Patience in Painting
  "How about you move a little to the left, Madame Dane? A little bit more. Perfect."
  As I waved my hand to the left, gesturing to my subject to adjust her position, the back of my hand collided with a ceramic paint jar, hurtling it toward the patterned brick below my feet. Instinctively turning away, I winced at the sound of the jar splintering into shards. Worse, the paint within the jar was no longer resting on my easel, rather staining the red brick a deep blue. 
  Closing my eyes, I clenched my palette in my left hand, and massaged the hairs on my paintbrush with my thumb - spreading the paint onto my pale fingers. Sighing, I turned to my painting, relieved that I had completed the majority of the lake background and would be able to finish the piece with little difficulty. 
  Filling in the contours of Madame Dane with a thin brush, I used short, brisk strokes to add texture to her dress. Raising my brush, I added the final details to Madame Dane, stroking in her lips and flashing texture along her figure to maintain consistency.
  Stepping backwards to admire my work from a different angle, I noticed my other subject, Mister Ducort, glaring intensely at me. He displayed a menacing sneer, raising a single eyebrow and lightly twitching his lips.
  "Mr. Ducort, I do realize that is a difficult position to maintain, and I apologize for your discomfort, but could you please flash a smile for me? Thanks."
  Grunting, the man shifted his expression to a strained smile. Unsatisfied, I relieved him of smiling and requested that he maintain a neutral expression.
  Nodding his head, the man ditched smiling and settled for a more relaxed posture and resting expression. Having reached an agreement, the man did not bother to challenge his current pose or intentionally shift his position. However, as I moved to highlighting the water, I noticed a small object resting on the splintered bench of the boat.
  "What is that?" I asked, gesturing with my paintbrush in hand.
 Unsure whether to speak or not, Mr. Ducort and Madame Dane remained silent, maintaining their posture and not even casting a glance in my direction.
  "Mr. Ducort and Madame Dane, one of you please tell me what that is, it's altering the lighting and shadows on the bench."
  Sliding his leathered hands over to the object, Mr. Ducort hesitatingly clasped it in his palm, completely concealing it. Swallowing, the man knelt on one leg, extending his hands toward the heart of  Madame Dane, and produced a small box. Opening the box, an exquisite ring was neatly folded into white lace.
  Swallowing once again, Mr. Ducort asked in a bold tone, "Madame Dane, beloved, will you marry me?"
  Madame Dane did not exhibit any form of reaction. Unblinking, she maintained her posture and expression, refusing to glance toward Mr. Ducort. Flustered and disappointed, Mr. Ducort held his pose. I could tell that in his eyes, he was desperately hoping for Madame Dane's acceptance.
  Unsure of the proper way to react, I cried, "Madame Dane, forget posing for this painting and get on with it, will you?"
  At these words, she leaped from her seat and swung her arms around Mr. Ducort, knocking him to the floor of the boat.
  A smile glowing on her face, Madame Dane refused to stop repeating, "Yes, of course!"
  In order to offer the couple privacy, I gathered my supplies in an uncaring manner, and tossed them into my satchel. Still wet, I left the painting on my easel and walked in the opposite direction. However, before I had left the street, Mr. Ducort darted from the boat and trod over to me.
  "Thank you, Mr. Manet. Thank you for your patience and your time."
  With a grin, I replied, "Your happiness is the only currency I know, but I would still like to be paid."  


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