Interactale 4 – The Painting

Interactale 4 – The Painting

“Hi,” I said. I was taken aback, both nervous and intrigued.Painter and Man with self-photo

She wore a thin white t-shirt, no bra, and the red and blue paint spattered on her cheekbones was the only artificial coloring on her make-up free complexion. A little white paint freckled the stray hairs protruding from her otherwise smooth hair which was nearly flattened on one side as if she’d slept on it. As she dabbed at the canvas in front of her, the fluffy side of her hair bounced with her movements, harmoniously, in hypnotic fashion.

She was painting the mountains, but that was unimportant because she was, by far, the most powerful and inspiring piece of art in the room. She was abstract and dangerous and she commanded my attention immediately.

I wasn’t sure if I was in love or afraid, but I was positive that my next few words could be the most important I’d ever uttered.

I smoothed my hair into place and approached her cautiously.

“That’s a beautiful painting,” I said, anxious at her response. I hoped she wouldn’t look at me and see the nerdy guy I was inside. At first she appeared not to hear me. She was so intent on her work she could not interrupt it until she achieved exactly what she was trying to convey. She looked up at me with large doe eyes and smiled a kind of sideways smile, like the Mona Lisa. I held out my hand to her and introduced myself. Only after she gently shook it did I realize it was drenched in sweat.

“Just fabulous!” I thought. “For once in my life, could something just go my way?” She appeared not to notice my sweaty palm affliction. She studied me coolly; then went back to her work. I was in a panic. Was she going to blow me off like every other female on the planet? Should I pull up a chair and make a feeble attempt at conversation with this exotic creature? Or, should I just walk away and leave this as an unrealized dream? Seconds seemed like hours until I finally made a decision.

The painting, like the artist, was intriguing and intimidating. I wasn’t sure what to think or what to do. I mussed my hair and stared at the painting, pretending to understand art. Something about colors and contrasts and perspective. I read that in an art book once. I think that was what it said. It did look cool, just wasn’t sure what it was exactly.

“The linear depth is amazing, and the shading and contours offer the perspective of an intriguing, enigmatic, mysterious, and yet attractive soul.”

She looked at me for a minute. Deep into my eyes. I did it. I had her, I was sure. Then she burst out in laughter so hard, I thought that perhaps milk she drank in second grade might come spewing from her nose.

Red-faced, I tore from a paper roll she had placed on a nearby table, and handed it to her.

“Sorry,” she said. “That line had to come from some kind of journal.”

He raised his eyebrows, “I wanted to get your attention.”

“You did that all right,” lifting a colorful thermos that was once white, and said, “Coffee.” He couldn’t believe his luck, smiled and gave her a nod. “We have established you’re no artisan!”


“So what brings you to my studio?”

He felt his heart beat admiring her curves as she continued to paint like he wasn’t even there.

“Hamm! My name is Maxwell Crandon.” She dropped her paint brush, turned and gapped.


He pulled out a picture from the inside pocket of his orange, goose-feathered ultra-light jacket and held it close to his chest.

“What is it?”

“I was hoping you might consider painting this,” I said, handing her the picture.

“I see myself like this every day.  It’s a picture of me in the mirror, and I know that I look inverted to everyone else, but if you could paint this photo of me in a mirror, I might be able to see how I look to everyone else. I’ve always wanted to know. I don’t just mean physically, and…”

I couldn’t say what I was thinking. It wasn’t the product of her painting that I wanted, it was the act itself.

She probably made love the same why she painted: Genuinely. Everything about her process let me know that she was far more experienced than anyone I’d ever known, but also that her intimidating demeanor was more a product of my anxiety and less arrogance.  Close up, I could see she was no exception to humility as a concomitant of raw passion, but she seemed to have mastered such character perhaps even better than she mastered painting. That’s not to say that she hadn’t been damaged, because she certainly had – we were exceptionally alike in that regard – but it is to say that she had long employed a way of thinking that I had only begun to realize existed.

I watched her raise mountains, controlling her brush with tender, yet precise strokes, keeping her aggression on an attention to detail and letting her soul bear the gestures of a loving laborer.

At that moment, I glanced down upon a look of pure interest and compassion gazing back at me; and in the next moment, I yielded. I yielded not to her, but to myself, to whatever had long kept a man like me from attracting such an enlivening human being. I put my hand to the side of her face, brushing away a few small, stray curls as my fingers caressed over her earlobe and her jaw nestled into the warmth of my palm.

“Please?” I asked.

And she began to paint me for the first time.

Participant Writers

Denise Carey-Costa:
Victor Paul Scerri:
Dave Scotese:
Don Eminizer:
Vincent Sobotka:
Joseph Matthew Nespoli:



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