Agony of Creation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A artist doesn't get quite the results he hoped for with his new work, though he's pleased with it.

Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Submitted: February 21, 2017



No longer shall I produce pale reflections of the masterpieces of others. I am crafting works all my own. There! I thought the nose would turn out straight, but it has that nice little angle so it balances out the ear and jutting chin like I hoped it would. The eyes are a little small, but when I tried to make them bigger, the expression was like that of one frightened, mad, or both. Yes, they say that eyes are the windows of the soul, but we don’t want to see the soul’s kitchen and laundry room.

I am rather proud of the bone structure of the face. There will be some interesting effects of light and shadow that one doesn’t often see in other works, if she holds a candle or a lantern. I didn’t spend too much time on the hair, I will admit. Usually making it shiny enough does the trick. Worrying unduly about the color never pays. In this case, the physical build of the figure was more important. When everyone can stuff himself till he’s sick and the harvests are good, the figure should be at least ten pounds underweight or constrained by corsetry. However, when the shoes are stewed for leather because the dog was slaughtered last week, they fantasize about ladies like those old fertility goddesses carved out of stone who may or may not be bright pink depending on the predominant ethnic group or climate. Something in between these two options was my goal. It’s always easier to err on the side of plumpness, and to my mind better.

This medium is funny. You have your idea of what you want your image to look like, but what you really rely on is chance. And oils. And heat. And other more intangible things. The most elaborate and painstaking arrangement must look like a happy, innocent coincidence. When I’m working, it’s like the difference between a mold for a statue and a finished work of bronze. I can’t show you the mold because you’ll say: “What is this?”, but when I show you the metaphorical statue, you will exclaim: “It’s a ballerina!” So that’s all I can say about my artistic process. When I describe it in detail people either get completely lost in confusion or irrationally disgusted with the whole business.

You like it? That is good. One of my friends said that when they looked at it, they could hear a woman’s voice. I haven’t been pleased with the overall critical reception of this piece, though. Others have sneered, scoffing: “The head’s lopsided! She’s chubby!” None of these Philistines have ever heard of angles, foreshortening, or the concept of avoiding anorexia. The artist who mentioned chubbiness, I’ll have you know, deals in paragons of pain and suffering. He says that the sunken cheekbones and eyes over twiggy waists allow him to focus on the effects of light and clothing. And that cultivating flowing blood and soul-shattering pain reminds the viewer of the sin within each of us and those that died so we might have redemption. Seriously? I don’t know which  group of people disturbs me more, the artists who deliberately make these irredeemably flawed creations or the critics and collectors who egg them on and create a market for it.

I do think I have a flaw in mine, though. There is always one. When the critics are gone to their penthouse suites, the artists to their studio-hovels, and the boy who carries a gun and sweeps the gallery has gone home to his mother, I can hear sobbing and these repeated words: "Why? Why have you put me here, just to see if you could?"


© Copyright 2019 Alard Ermentrud. All rights reserved.

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