Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2241995-Layers
by Kris
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Relationship · #2241995
An artist struggles with rejection.

Nelson felt the weight of the afternoon's work in his stomach. Acid from the third cup of coffee didn't help temper a feeling that there was no salvaging the painting.

Hesitant, he kept the brush up to the canvas. Don't go any further. Don't overdo it.

He threw the brush down on the workbench and walked away from the easel. The marbled palette, clutched at his side, was the only indication that some fight yet remained. It didn't used to be so hard. The paint flowed. Ideas and emotions had swirled into form and space.

Nelson paced. He looked back into his studio filled with paintings, sketches and tools. The apartment seemed bigger. Empty almost.

The coffee had run through him. Nelson was thirsty.

A collection of glasses had amassed near the kitchen sink. Some had dry paint on their lips. Raising a wine glass, Nelson winced. Those were Marlene's lips painted red on the side--evidence that she had once existed. Her form had filled that space. Nelson downed the wine that remained and put the glass back on the counter. His thirst remained.

Marlene had helped him prepare for the last gallery show. The critics were not kind.

While the expressionist distortion of reality found a home in the morass of early 20th century Europe, the artist's present-day dedication to a raw, maniacal layering of color is overdone and lacks the intimacy of that earlier time.

Lacks intimacy. Marlene had said the same to him before she left. She must have read the review.

From across the room Marlene's portrait caught his gaze with Burnt Umber eyes. Realism was really not his thing. Fuck it.

Back at the easel, he painted. With a raw, maniacal force Alizarin Crimson lips came to life. Layer after layer of distorted reality.

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