The Artist (The Inkwell Prompt #52)

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Papa, I've been looking for you everywhere!

He turned just in time to see his young son burst into the room and tackle him with his full might around the midriff. Chuckling, he steadied himself on his stool and gazed down into the angelic face of his beloved boy. Such youthful energy, such exuberance, such unconditional love from a son towards a father, he mused. He felt the warmth of love overcome him and seep into the smallest particles of his being. The feeling was indeed mutual.

Hey, do you want to see what I've been up to?

Ruffling his hands through his son's curls, he beamed as he lifted him up in a single gentle motion onto his knee, and swiveled around in his seat.

Look Chris...

his voice broke off as he motioned across the broad open canvas, paintbrush in hand...

Wow, Papa, I didn't know that you could paint so well! I like to paint pictures too. Can we paint together? Maybe we can even have a competition?

His son's words tumbled over themselves in excitement.

Yes, of course, we can, but I have a slight head start on you as I started my painting yesterday.

The boy giggled and chided playfully.

You are a very slow painter then, father! I could do lots more than this in one day!

Aah, but you see my boy, an artist does not rush his craft. He takes his time, he exercises patience, layering the scene expertly, creating beauty one step at a time, seeking perfection with every stroke. By the end, we hope to have a masterpiece that we are proud to call our own, and something which, were it in itself animate and conscious, would, in turn, be proud to have been inked by our hand. Yesterday, this was a bright white canvas, today it has the markings of the heavens colouring the skies. But enough about my painting, how did you know where to find me this evening?

Oh, Gabe told me...

the boy replied nonchalantly.

Aah, I should have known. How is she then? I haven't seen her around these past few days?

Oh she's fine father, you know her. She has been helping out downstairs as things have been quiet, and she didn't want to disturb you needlessly.

Ok then, I understand. Has Ariel not called you for supper yet?

No, father, not yet.

Then we shall eat together and I shall tell you all about my special painting and the joy that it is bringing me, and you can start tomorrow on your own canvas. I will ask Michael to set up a spare Easel for you in the morning. He will be happy to see that you are following closely in my footsteps.

Of course Papa! Thank you!

he replied, clapping his hands together in glee.

Overjoyed the father-son pair walked off arm in arm, as one, towards the grand dining hall.

The light shone iridescent in his young eyes as he awoke from his night-time rest and rolled over in the blissful goodness of his little feather bed. Mornings always felt so extra heavenly when he was spending them with Papa. He bounced out of his room and made his way up to the loft studio, where he had sought out his father the evening before.

Father was already busy at work and so he took up his position beside him, ready to learn all that there was to know about his father's craft, his wonderful new creative piece and how he might learn from his instruction.

Today's lesson it seemed was about adding in dense forests on the one side and open savannah on the other, both overlooking the shoreline that met the sea in the foamy tumult of its rollicking waves. He gazed up into his father's face, the wisdom of his seemingly infinite years engrained in the many small creases accentuating his twinkling eyes and gentle mouth that curved upwards at the edges in a state of seemingly perpetual happiness. This was truly how he experienced his father, and he loved him with all of his heart.

How much longer do you think it is going to take you, Papa?

he ventured, his curiosity getting the better of him.

I would say I'm about halfway done, my boy.

came the tentative reply,

what do you think so far of my efforts?

Well, I would say that your painting is pretty good,

he responded with boyish charm and a cheeky disposition.

Why, thank you! I think so too. Definitely good!

his father chuckled with a knowing smile and a little wink.

Tomorrow I will show you how we will illuminate our canvases with the natural light of the sun, the moon, and the stars and how we will be introducing the ethereal into our works of art.

I can hardly wait Papa, painting sunrises is one of my most favourite things to do in the world.

And so the following day they added a bold sun, a demure moon, and a myriad of twinkling stars to grace the midnight skies.

As his father put him to bed and turned out the light, he whispered,

Sleep tight my sweet, sweet prince, for tomorrow we tackle something a little more challenging. We will add some swimming fish to the oceans, and many flying birds to the skies. Tomorrow morning the chorus of the songbird will be heard and life will breathe through the canvasses beneath our fingertips.

His last words had barely left his lips, when the audible sigh escaping his young child marked the moment that he drifted off into a peaceful rhythmic slumber.

Another day in the loft studio passed. Father painting, son admiring, learning his craft, paying attention to each and every loving brushstroke, every detail articulated by each individual bristle.

I think it is all coming together rather nicely, don't you think?

Oh yes, Papa, very much so indeed. It is so beautiful. Are we finished now?

No...I think maybe one more day, and we'll be done. I still need to add a few land animals and maybe a human being or two. And tomorrow is the start of the weekend too, so when we are finished we shall celebrate and I will take you outside and we will go exploring for a bit.

The next day, as he watched his father putting the finishing touches to his masterpiece, he whispered with an untold reverence,

Papa, what shall you call this beautiful painting of yours?

My child, I shall call it Creation. Would you like to accompany me to the Gallery on Main in the morning to drop it off? They are expecting me. We can stop in, rest awhile, and watch the world go by. But first, we shall hang your painting up here in my studio where we can be proud of it each and every day.

Yes Papa, thank you! I would enjoy that very much. Your painting looks so real. I very much wish that I could live in that wonderful world that you have created Papa.

My boy, one day you just may do that, but for now we will have to wait and see how long the beauty that the Artist has created, can be sustained.

I don't think I've come across this artist's handiwork before. It is quite out of this world. I feel like I could just disappear into insignificance beneath the exquisite pallette that graces the canvas. I see the artist's initials peeping out from behind the price sticker:
G...rady Denham, perhaps?

He inquired as he turned to face The Gallery's Collections Curator, who was already running his card.

Indeed sir, it is a remarkable piece and an excellent choice. In fact, it only came in this morning. We have not been graced with this artist's works before. You are very fortunate to have decided to visit The Gallery today as you are also the first customers to view it. As for the artist...

So, you do you like, then? I think it's fabulous!

The breezy lilt in her voice interrupted the conversation flow and drew his attention away from the Collections Curator. She locked in with her bewitching smile, prodded him gently in the chest with her forefinger and stepped towards him, before falling against him gently but deliberately. Staring him down, one eyebrow raised at the outer edge she ran her finger seductively across her lips, then breaking into giggles, she pushed him away again, just as he leant in to kiss her.

He smiled wryly; she was such a flirt, but she was his flirt!

I'm hungry, let's get outta here!

He took her hand in both of his and tugged her playfully in the direction of the door.

You're always hungry, Adam!

She retorted, twisting herself from his grasp and pulling away again. She laughed at the mock horror adorning his face, then flashing him a perfect set of pearly whites, tossed him an apple that she had retrieved from her purse.

Left over from lunch! Eat that! And stop being insufferable...

He shook his head playfully and bit into the apple, the succulent fruit opened up between his teeth and the flavour ripped through his mouth in miniature explosions. God, that is a good apple, he thought as the juice oozed out of the corners of his mouth, and sweet nectar dribbled down his chin. He wiped his face with the back of his sleeve and grinned back at her.

Alright then! Be that way,

She mock-pouted and shook her head,

But don't let it be said that I'm leading you astray.

He grinned back at her. She was feisty, with her hair pulled back in a messy bun, giving it that girl next door look, all innocent, positively beautiful. She glowed and made him feel more alive than he had ever felt in his life.

Too late, anyway!

he exclaimed, taking her by the hand and twirling her around spontaneously.

It's SOLD, I already bought it, Creation by G.D now belongs to us.

But I thought you said the price was too high?

She protested mockingly as she circled around him and kissed the back of his neck.

It was! It is!

He grasped for her, missing...

Our childrens' childrens' children will still be carrying this debt long after we have ceased to exist.

His laugh carried on the wind with hers as the gallery doors swung closed behind them.

He was joking of course, but Eve had a way of lowering his guard, and when he was around her, nothing in the whole world felt off-limits anymore. Her beguiling ways were quite simply intoxicating.

Raphael, could you package that painting up for its new owners please. The gentleman has assured me they will be back this afternoon to collect it.

Raphael gently picked up the masterpiece and laid it down for wrapping. First, he must polish up the framework. He carefully peeled back the edges of the price sticker and shone up the glass underneath. The artist's full initials revealed themselves in all their glory:



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