The Masterpiece

by Jackson Powerfight

Grant stepped back from the canvas to survey the almost finished painting. The tart smell of pigment and oil filled his nostrils. Deep within his chest his heart swelled with well-earned pride. Before him stood what was, undeniable to all, a masterpiece. For the first time in weeks Grant allowed himself to quietly tremble with emotion.

Depicted in the work was a simple yeoman’s home, no more than a thatched hut, really. Rendered with the utmost care, it was nearly lost within a jagged wash of browns and greys. Above this rock strewn landscape of isolation the sky hung sagging from the weight of it’s own choking atmosphere. Behind that, perhaps, the sun was still alive and burning, but there was no way to tell. All was sadness. All was despair.

And yet the painting was somehow uplifting. Perhaps it was the way that, despite everything, light seems to find the little stone and thatch home, giving it a subtle glow of warmth and security. Perhaps it was the baby pig who danced in circles before the doorway of the hut. Perhaps it was the brooding warriors, gathered manfully around a simple cooking fire, who shouldered the indignity of life with no loss of pride or collective strength.

Still, Grant was not entirely happy with the painting. Some issue of balance plagued him at the back of his mind. He took in his hand the smallest, finest brush he owned and, with care, dipped it into the still damp patch of reddish brown colour on his palette. He then turned back toward the canvas and with all the force of a dying whisper drew the engorged tip of the brush gently across a little corner of the immense canvas. He took a step back to see what he had done.

The painting was ruined! Screaming with furious sorrow Grant grabbed the work and sent it cartwheeling across the room where it hit the far wall with terrifying force. It fell to the floor as a pile of shattered wood and torn canvas. Grant crouched low on the floor and covered his face with his arms. For a long time his body shook with his great heaving sobs.

THE END

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