Family, Fiction, Melbourne, Parenting, Relationship and marriage, Writing

Art Form

Sadie watches the colours coalesce on the tray. With her brush she mixes the distinct red with the deep blue, and like always, is amazed as the two primary shades become purple.

Not quite the purple she’s after, though, so she adds a blob more of red and continues to swirl with her brush.

She takes a deep breath, centres herself. Focuses her thoughts on the blank canvas on the easel. Picks up her brush, and paints.

This moment. Right here. This is what she lives for. Music plays gently in her ears and the world is blocked out. Her body sways as she paints; submersing her whole self into her art.

Hours pass, without her even realising. It’s a rumble in her stomach that stops her; Sadie looks at the clock behind her: 2PM. No wonder she’s hungry. Placing the brush back on her tray, she drags a wisp of hair from her forehead, then walks to the sink to wash her hands and forearms.

In the kitchen, she makes herself a cheese toastie and gulps three glasses of water, one after the other. Glancing around her loft, her converted first-floor warehouse apartment, Sadie shivers with delight. It’s all hers. Sure, her father paid for it and all the furniture inside; he colloquially calls it The Barn and each time he visits he mutters that it’s as cold as museum. But this space is perfect for her life. She gets up in the morning, paints all day, eats and sleeps, to repeat the process the next day.

Sighing, Sadie chews her toastie and thinks about her mum. God how she misses her. The hugs, the chats, the coffees. The support.

That’s what missing for her. Her dad is great, but he doesn’t support her work. Doesn’t understand the drive within to create beautiful pieces. And he certainly can’t equate the price customers are willing to pay with the ‘colourful scribbles’ that she paints. The last time he was here, Sadie was just finishing a piece called Mountain Air.

‘What’s this?’ he said.

She braced as she replied. ‘It’s called Mountain Air. It’s a commission piece for a woman who lives in northern Victoria. She’s one of my best customers.’

‘How much you going sell it for?’

Sadie glanced warily. This question never had a good enough answer. ‘Why?’

‘Curious, love. That’s all.’

Unlikely. ‘About fifteen hundred.’

‘Jeee-zuz.’ He slapped his thigh and whooped. ‘Few more of those and you can start paying me back for this barn, then. Hey?’

It was part of her inheritance, he’d said. She pouted her lips in confusion.

‘Kidding, love.’

Mum would never played such games with her. Nor tolerated moments when Dad did so. But he could turn his scorn over her lifestyle into an art form. Oh, the irony.

He walked to where she was sitting. ‘Come on. Let’s go out for dinner.’

Sadie pushed her annoyance deep, thrust it into the box she named Times Dad Disappointed Me, and together they enjoyed a meal at his—and her mum’s—favourite restaurant.

Her cheese toastie finished, she screws up her napkin and places it on the plate. Sips water from her glas, and looks back to her easel, on the far side of her loft. No time to dally about in grief over the loss of her mum, nor to sulk about the ways her dad lets her down. She needs to start painting again. She’s promised the high-end homewares shop in Toorak that this piece, along with five others, will be dispatched in three weeks.

Photo by Jené Stephaniuk on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “Art Form”

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