Colors splashed in darkened hues, globs that dribbled red and blue, smeared across the crinkled page. The oblong sun sat on top, a yellow swirl of thickened strokes, melded to the light blue sky.
The girl’s fingers brushed the paper, back and forth in rhythmic strokes, spilling paint across her hands. The pigment trickled down her arms, along her apron and tattered jeans, to spatter on her tiny feet. She paused and looked at her picture. "Mommy, what do purple and green make?"
Her mother stared beyond the patio, her gaze fixed upon wildflowers, bursting forth in golden bloom. She remained oblivious to her child’s handiwork, as her glasses rested atop her nose and her brush etched with small, fine strokes. "They make a mess, dear," she said without looking up.
The little girl stood from her stool and studied her work in mimicry of her mother's stance. Her ponytail had broken loose from its tether, her hair frizzled in squiggly strands. Tiny bangs wriggled down her face, while watercolors dabbed her amber locks with splotches of red and blue and gold. And the peculiar mixture of purple and green. “How about brown and blue, Momma?” she asked.
The woman let out a sigh as she tried to finesse the oils on her canvass. “Same thing, sweetie.”
The little girl’s quizzical expression soured and she coiled her arms in a pouting fold. “My painting’s ugly,” she sulked, as she bowed her head.
The woman paused and glanced at her canvass, nearly complete in its mirrored detail, then set down her brush and walked to her daughter’s side.
“Let’s take a look at that picture,” she said as she faced the easel. The colors had run in watered blotches, forms that blurred in abstract pose to form a soggy, wrinkled frame. Slowly, she began to recognize the scene: their modest two-story home on the left, the mid-day sun – or so she presumed – above, and the two of them, holding hands amidst the brown and blue and purple-green yard. Her heart melted.
“You know what I think, sweetie?” she asked as she looked at her child.
The little girl gazed up toward her, arms folded and still pouting. “What?”
“I think I’m gonna frame this and put it right in the middle of my studio.”
Her daughter’s face lit up. “Really?”
“Really,” she said as she hugged her tight.
They carried the painting by its edge, as the two held hands and walked inside, while the yellow-glob sun slowly set and melted to horizon’s rim.
Nature is a revelation of God; art is a revelation of man.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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