Painting the Landscape

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


Painting the Landscape

By Shad Henriquez

 

Jeremy Moon enters a forest in New York. The 55-year-old artist finds a spot on the grass in between tall trees to plant his easel into the ground and places a canvas on it. Jeremy has over 2,000 pieces that consist of oil paintings on canvas, watercolor on paper, and acrylic on paper. His style is abstract, yet detailed, with emphasis on brush strokes and detailed lines, while also leaving the image up to the imagination. Jeremy’s favorite things to paint consists of nature and animals, especially birds. He unfolds a metal chair, takes a seat, squeezes paint onto his palette, dips a brush in the paint, and goes to work on the canvas. Jeremy wants to capture the sunrise with a colorful sky and tall pine trees in the foreground. Jeremy likes to paint outside either early in the morning or late at night to avoid the glaring sun affecting his vision. He prefers to pick a secluded area so no one can see him. Jeremy likes to paint in parks, on beaches, hills, near rocks, and other places. After about twenty minutes, a woman who appears to be in her early 40s sees Jeremy and walks up to him.

Woman

“Hello?”

Jeremy doesn’t reply and continues painting. The woman gets closer and speaks again.

Woman

“Hello!”

Jeremy looks up from his work at the woman.

Jeremy

“Hi there!” Goes back to his canvas.

Woman

“Wasn’t expecting to see anyone out here this early, let alone an artist.”

Jeremy

“Yes, I like painting at this time to avoid the glare of the sun.”

Woman

“That’s smart.” Walks closer to look at Jeremy’s canvas. “Oh, my! You have a wonderful hand!”

Jeremy

“Thank you.”

Woman

“Have you ever shown your art at any exhibits?”

Jeremy

“From time to time. Not much comes out of it.”

Woman

“Well, I think it’s wonderful. Worthy of hanging in a museum.”

Jeremy

Continuing to paint. “Thanks, but I try not to think about my work being seen in a museum.”

Woman

“Makes sense. You do it because it’s your passion.” Takes a seat on a nearby tree stump. “My mother would take me to art museums when I was little. We saw so many gorgeous pieces made by some of the greatest artists to ever live.”

Jeremy

“Do you have any favorites in particular?”

Woman

Takes a few seconds to contemplate. “Van Gogh, Gaugin, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Degas, Matisse, Rembrandt, Sargent, Lautrec, Pollack, Basquiat…”

Jeremy

Takes a glance at the woman and slows down his painting. “You have excellent taste.”

Woman

Smiles. “Thank you.”

Jeremy

Puts his paintbrush and palette down to fully engage the woman. “Do you paint yourself?”

Woman

“Not on a regular basis. Every couple of months.”

Jeremy

“I would love to see it if we happen to run into each other again.”

Woman

“I like to walk in the morning. If you happen to be outside around that time, I could show you some of my drawings.”

Jeremy

“Okay. How does this spot tomorrow at 8 sound?”

Woman

Rising from the tree stump. “Sounds lovely. See you then.”

Jeremy

“Oh, I never got your name.”

Woman

“Beth. Beth Luna.”

Jeremy

“Nice to meet you, Beth. I’m Jeremy Moon.”

Beth

“Nice to meet you, Jeremy. See you tomorrow.”

Jeremy

Nods his head and smiles. “Bye. See you tomorrow.”

Beth walks away and continues along the path of the walkway. Jeremy finishes his painting.

 

Later that day, Jeremy would write in his journal to reflect on his experience.

Today I met an interesting woman: an art lover. Her name is Beth Luna. Very pretty name. Pleasant woman. Red hair, blue eyes. She had a great appreciation for my art. I was impressed with her knowledge of the great artists in history. Tomorrow she will show me some of her artwork in the forest where we met. I look forward to studying her style and technique.

 

The following day, Jeremy waited for Beth in the same spot. This time he is using a pencil and crayons to draw a red sunrise. Beth arrived at 8 o’clock with a folder of drawings.

Beth

“Hello.”

Jeremy

Looking up from his drawing. “Hi. Glad you made it. I brought an extra chair for you to sit in.”

Beth

“Thank you.” Takes a seat directly in front of Jeremy. “I have some drawings for you.”

Jeremy

Putting down his drawing and taking the art folder from Beth. “Wonderful. Let’s take a look.”

Jeremy opens the folder and takes out the first picture. A tall tree with flowers on the grass and a night sky with stars. Acrylic mixed with watercolor paint.

Jeremy

“Very nice. Good variety of color on the flowers, nice, detailed tree, and the stars aren’t too big. Just the right size.”

Beth

“Thank you.”

Jeremy

“It looks like you mixed different medias for this picture.”

Beth

“I used acrylic and watercolor.”

Jeremy

“Oh, I see. Very good job.”

Beth

“Thank you.”

Jeremy

Pulls a second picture out of the folder. “This looks like a watercolor.”

The picture is a beach setting that consists of light yellow sand, dark blue water, a red motorboat, a starfish lying on the sand, and a sun overhead mixed with yellow and orange.

Jeremy

“Excellent color use here. Nothing bland or distracting. It has a nice subtleness to it.”

Beth

Smiling and nodding her head. “Thank you.”

 

Jeremy pulls out a third picture.

Jeremy

“Ah! Another good one!”

The picture consists of a woman looking out of a window. She has herself curled in a fetal position with a sad expression on her face. The drawing is a black and white pencil sketch.

Jeremy

“Great strength in the lines. You can see the woman is sad, but it’s left up to the imagination what’s bothering her. Excellent.”

Beth

“Thanks.”

Jeremy takes a fourth picture out of the folder.

Jeremy

“Oh, I like this one.”

The picture consists of a bookcase filled with books in the background behind a red couch, a coffee table with a flower in a vase, a steaming cup of coffee, a television remote, and a newspaper resting on top in the foreground. Pencil and crayon.

Jeremy

“Nice balance of items. Looks like an actual living room. Very good.”

Beth

“Thank you.”

Jeremy takes out a fifth picture. It is a bouquet of flowers that consists of roses, daisies, and chrysanthemums. The media is acrylic.

Jeremy

“Beautiful. Just beautiful.”

Beth

“Thank you.”

Jeremy takes a sixth picture out of the folder. It shows a blackbird resting in a nest lying on top of tree branch, with a colorful sky behind it. Watercolor mixed with acrylic.

Jeremy

“This is a great one. Soft, delicate detail. Well done.”

Beth

“Thanks.”

Jeremy pulls out a seventh picture from the folder. An open green field of galloping horses with a blue sky above. The horses are brown, black, white, and spotted. Pencil and crayon are the media.

Jeremy

“This one captures nature and animals really well. Great job.”

Beth

“Thank you. I’ve always loved horses.”

Jeremy smiles warmly before pulling out the eighth and final picture. A flock of birds flying in formation over trees, flowers, a water stream, and rocks, with a blue sky and a rainbow. The media is mixed with acrylic and a little watercolor.

Jeremy

“Oh, my. This is wonderful. Great imagination.”

Beth

“Thanks.”

Jeremy looks through each picture again to study and appreciate them more.

Jeremy

“You’re a talented artist, Beth. One thing I noticed from all of your pictures was that none of them had a year. Is there any particular reason why?”

Beth

“I just don’t feel it’s necessary.”

Jeremy

“Okay.” Puts the pictures back in the folder and hands them to Beth. “Wonderful artwork.”

Beth

“Thank you. I’m glad you like it.”

Jeremy

“Do you paint on canvas as well?”

Beth

“Yes, but I haven’t done so for quite some time.”

Jeremy

“If you’d like maybe we could paint on canvases together somewhere. I would like to see you in action.”

Beth chuckles at the thought.

Beth

“That sounds like fun. When would you like to do it?”

Jeremy

“Whatever time works for you.”

Beth

Taking a few seconds to think of a good time. “How does tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. on the beach sound?”

Jeremy

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll bring a canvas and some paints for you. We can meet up at the entrance and walk in together.”

Beth

“Lovely. I can’t wait. See you then.”

Beth rises from the chair and waves goodbye to Jeremy. He waves back as they both say “goodbye” and Beth leaves in the same direction she came.

 

Later in the day, Jeremy would reflect on his second encounter with Beth.

Today I had a chance to see the artwork of Beth Luna. She has a great imagination and uses different medias very well. Her work is detailed and she has a sense of color and depth. Beth is a solid, humble artist. The only thing I find unusual is that none of her pictures have a year dated. And now that I think about it, there was no name to be found either. I wish I had an idea of how recent Beth’s artwork is. I have no doubt that those were Beth’s drawings. I look forward to painting with her on the beach tomorrow.

 

The following day, Jeremy would wait for Beth at the entrance of Rockaway Beach with canvases, easels, palettes, brushes, and tubes of paint. It’s 8:40 a.m. Beth arrives at the entrance and walks up to Jeremy.

Beth

“Hi, sorry I’m late.”

Jeremy

“That’s okay. I’m glad you made it.”

Beth

“Want me to hold something for you?”

Jeremy

“That’s okay. I made it this far holding all of this, I think I can make it to the sand!” Lifts the art supplies and grunts, dropping a brush and several tubes of paint.

Beth laughs and bends down to pick up the dropped supplies.

Beth

“I’ll hold these for you.”

The two walk to the middle of the sand and stop, still a good distance from the water. Jeremy drops everything to the ground and collapses to his knees. He takes a few gasps and looks up at Beth.

Jeremy

“Let’s stop here.”

Beth

Laughs. “Okay.”

After a few seconds of deep breaths from Jeremy, he and Beth set up the easels and canvases in the sand. Both hold a palette and paintbrush with individual tubes of paint resting on the ground after being squeezed. Jeremy immediately soars on the canvas. Capturing the blue water, mixing in the color white to emphasize the waves, the baby blue sky, with gold being used for the sand. Beth meanwhile has a little blue for the water in the form of squiggly lines. She looks over at Jeremy’s canvas to see his progress.

Beth

“Wow, you’re doing really good over there!”

Jeremy

“Thanks. How are you coming along?”

Beth

“I’m doing all right. It’s been a while since I’ve painted on a canvas.”

Jeremy

“That’s okay. Take your time and do your best to let go.”

Ten minutes pass and Jeremy is halfway done, while Beth is struggling to capture the depth and detail of the water. A woman walking towards the shore from behind in a bathing suit approaches Jeremy and Beth.

Beach Goer

“Hi there! It’s so nice to see painters. Are you married?”

Jeremy

“No, we’re not married. We just met a few days ago.”

Beach Goer

“Oh, okay that’s nice. “Looks at Jeremy’s canvas. “My, oh my! You do a beautiful job!”

Jeremy

“Thank you.”

Beach Goer

Walks over to Beth’s canvas. “I see you’re still coming along.” Turns back to Jeremy. “Are you giving her art lessons?”

Jeremy

“Not at all. She actually is a very good artist with her own style.”

Beth

Blushing. “I’m all right.”

Beach Goer

“Interesting. I didn’t know you were so good. What’s your name?”

Beth

“Beth Luna.”

Beach Goer

“Ah, that’s such a lovely name. Do you have social media? I would like to see your work.”

Beth

“Oh, I don’t draw that much. This is the first time I’ve painted on a canvas in years.”

Beach Goer

“Oh, okay. You should consider getting one though. Help you make a name for yourself in the art industry.”

Beth

“Thanks, but I mostly do it for fun.”

Beach Goer

“Okay, I understand.” Turns back to Jeremy. “Do you have social, sir? And what’s your name? Sorry I didn’t ask before.”

Jeremy

“Don’t worry about it. I’m Jeremy Moon and I don’t have social media. But I have shown my work at a few art galleries.”

Beach Goer

“Oh, that’s cool. Maybe I’ve seen your work while I was with my husband. Did you ever have an art show in Manhattan?”

Jeremy

“Yes, I have. Several times actually.”

Beach Goer

“Oh, my goodness! I remember you now! One of your pieces was of a family eating dinner!”

Jeremy

“That’s correct. A married couple and their son. I think it’s called ‘Family at the Dinner Table.’”

Beach Goer

“Yes. I remember some of your other paintings as well. Wow! What are the odds of me running into you on the beach?!”

Jeremy

“That’s something else, isn’t it? Very nice to see you.”

Beach Goer

“So great to see you as well! And listen, you should really think about getting social media. Especially Instagram. It’s a site where artists can become recognized.”

Jeremy

“Okay, I’ll consider it.”

Beach Goer

“Please do. Your work should be hanging in a museum!”

Jeremy

“Wow, that’s what Beth told me when we first met.”

Beach Goer

“Isn’t that ironic?!” Begins to walk towards the water. “Take care, Jeremy! Great seeing you! Bye!”

Jeremy

“You, too. Bye.”

Beach Goer

“Nice meeting you, Beth! Try to paint more if you can!”

Beth

“Take care! Have a good swim!

Jeremy

“She seems nice, doesn’t she?”

Beth

“I guess so. I didn’t like how she talked about my painting.”

Jeremy

“I’m sure she meant well.”

Beth

“She asked if you were giving me art lessons!”

Jeremy

“Maybe she thought you could use some improvement.”

Beth

“How about a shark bites her on the bottom for a while. Let’s see what she thinks about that.”

Jeremy

“Hey, that’s a bad thing to wish on someone.”

Beth

“You’re right. I shouldn’t have said it.”

Jeremy goes back to his canvas after taking a perplexed look at Beth. Twenty minutes later, Jeremy is nearly done with his painting. Beth meantime has water that’s not clearly defined, sand that has a harsh yellow, and a flat-looking sky.

Beth

“This is harder than I remember.”

Jeremy

“That’s okay. Art is hard to do.”

Beth

“You make it look so easy.”

Jeremy

“Thanks. I wouldn’t know.”

 

Beth takes a seat on the sand.

Beth

“I’m tired.”

Jeremy

“Really? We haven’t been out here too long.”

Beth looks at the waves splashing on the sand in the distance. She sees the woman that they talked to earlier doing backstrokes in the water.

Beth

“Looks like our friend from earlier is having a nice swim.”

Jeremy

“That’s good. Must mean the shark didn’t get her.”

Beth laughs. Jeremy signs his name on his painting.

Jeremy

“All right, I’m finished.”

Beth

“That was fast. I’m not even close to being done.”

Jeremy

Walks over to Beth’s canvas. “This isn’t too bad. Just add more depth to the water, a few more colors to the sky, and tint the sand. It has potential.”

Beth

“Yeah, potential to fail.” Lays down on the sand.

Jeremy

“Don’t say that. Not after what I saw what you’re capable of.”

Beth

“Yeah, but I’m so tired…”

Jeremy

“Okay then. You can finish it another time.”

Beth

“I guess so.”

Jeremy takes a seat beside the laid-out Beth.

Jeremy

“Don’t be so down on yourself. You have a love and talent for art. Besides, this is your first time painting on canvas in a while. There’s no reason to feel that you’re no good.”

Beth

“Thanks for the words of encouragement. You’re always so kind to me.”

Jeremy

“I try my best to be kind to everyone.”

Beth sits up and gets close to Jeremy.

Beth

“No one has ever been as kind to me as you are.”

Jeremy

Smiles. “I’m happy to hear it. You deserve to be treated well.”

Jeremy rises from the sand and prepares to pack up.

Jeremy

“I’ll take your painting home with me. You can work on it when we see each other again.”

Beth

“Okay. I was also thinking…”

Jeremy

“Yes?”

Beth

“Maybe we could go on a date together.”

Jeremy

“Oh, well, this is happening so fast. I don’t know what to say.”

Jeremy

“No, not at all. It would actually be nice to get to know you better.”

Beth

“So, what do you say?”

Jeremy ponders on the idea for a few seconds.

Jeremy

“Okay, let’s do it!”

Beth jumps up in excitement and gives Jeremy a hug. Jeremy smiles, but feels slightly awkward.

Beth

“I can’t wait! When do you want to go out?”

Jeremy

“How about this Saturday at 2 o’clock?”

Beth

“Wonderful! I’m so excited!”

Jeremy

“On one condition: you promise to finish your painting before we do anything else.”

Beth

Tilts her head sideways and raises an eyebrow before smiling. “Okay, I promise.”

Jeremy

“Great. We can meet back at the beach entrance at 2 and you can paint on the sand. Then we could go for a walk on the boardwalk and maybe even get some ice cream.”

Beth

”I like it. Should be fun. See you then.”

Jeremy

“Looking forward to it. I’m sure it’ll go well.”

Beth

“I know it will.” Kisses Jeremy’s cheek. “Bye.”

Jeremy blushes and feels awkward again as Beth leaves for the entrance of the beach.

Jeremy

“Bye.”

 

On the day of their date, Jeremy and Beth would begin on the beach at the same spot in the sand from when they painted previously. With a few tips from Jeremy, Beth would finish her painting of the beach. Jeremy suggested that Beth add the colors yellow, red, and green to the sky, white for the water, and dark gold for her sand. Beth was very happy with how her painting came out. She would title it “Day on the Beach.” At 3:15, they would go on a twenty-minute stroll on the boardwalk, taking in the sights and the light breeze. After sitting on benches for ten minutes, Jeremy and Beth would get two ice cream cones from an ice cream truck. After taking several minutes to eat their cones, Jeremy and Beth would walk back to the beach entrance. Jeremy would hand Beth her painting so she could take it home. They would schedule another date for Monday in the park. After giving each other a hug, Jeremy and Beth would split up.

For the next two weeks, Jeremy and Beth would go on multiple dates. They included the two seeing movies in the theater, eating at restaurants, and painting. They have fallen in love and are close to considering themselves as more than friends. During the end of their current date, Jeremy and Beth would watch the sunset together on top of a hill. The colors of the sky are dark blue, purple, and hot pink, with a dark yellow for the sun.

Beth

“Look at that. Isn’t it beautiful?”

Jeremy

“Absolutely. As beautiful as the time we’ve spent together.”

Beth

“Oh, Jeremy…” Beth blushes.

Jeremy

“I’m so happy that we decided to spend more time together. My relationships with women in the past didn’t go this well. Some have lasted longer, but none of them were as good as this. This is the first time in my life that I’ve really felt a connection to another person. I have feelings for you, Beth. Maybe we can take things a step further.”

Beth

“You mean as boyfriend and girlfriend?”

Jeremy

“Yes. What do you say?”

Beth

“Of course! I accept!”

The two hug tightly for a few seconds before leaning in for a kiss. As they do, someone can be heard running uphill. When the person makes their way to the top, they confront Beth immediately. It’s an older man with a stocky physique and gray hair. He’s a little older than Jeremy. Upon seeing him, Jeremy and Beth rise from their sitting positions.

Man

“There you are, Beth! So, this has been your excuse for not contacting me all these weeks!”

Beth

“Rex, I already told you that we’re through! Why don’t you leave us alone?”

Rex

“What are you talking about? You never broke up with me! All you’ve said was that we couldn’t see each other for a while, because you were taking care of a sick relative. Little did I know that this is what was really happening!”

Jeremy

To Beth: “I’m guessing that this is your boyfriend?”

Beth

“He’s nobody! I swear!”

Rex

“Six months engaged to a nobody?”

Beth

“No, that’s not how I meant it!”

Rex

To Jeremy: “So, how did she get you to fall for her? Was it by pretending to be like-minded and share the same interests?”

Jeremy

“I’m an artist. She told me she was one as well. Even showed me some artwork she did.”

Rex

“Look at that! I was right! Beth is no artist. The only artist in her family was her mother before she died years ago. Elen Luna. She painted until she was 80. Never signed or dated her work because she felt it wasn’t necessary. She believed that no one could imitate her style.”

Jeremy

“‘Felt it wasn’t necessary.’” Turns to look at Beth. “Sounds like something someone told me before.”

Beth

“Hold on, Jeremy! This isn’t what you think!”

Rex

“Just so you’re aware, this isn’t the first time Beth has pretended to be involved in the same field as other men. Before our engagement, she was seeing a guy that was studying to be an actor. She said that he was ‘no one special.’ He told me that she told him that she studied acting as a little girl and wanted to be the next Meryl Streep.”

Jeremy

“Meryl Streep, huh?”

Beth

“Don’t listen to him, Jeremy! He’s nothing but a fat gray haired liar!”

Jeremy

“I think I’ve heard enough lies for one day.”

Jeremy begins to walk downhill. “Wait! Don’t leave! Come back!” were the words shouted by Beth. Jeremy ignored them and began to walk home.

 

It took Jeremy a while to recover from being emotionally and romantically deceived by Beth, hitting him especially hard being unmarried and without children all of his life. To cope, he wrote about his feelings in his journal, including poems about lost love and continuing to have a positive mindset. To give himself a fresh outlook, Jeremy decided to paint his next picture in a field surrounded by numerous flowers. Upon arriving, he saw someone had the same idea. The person was a 50-year-old woman with black hair, blue eyes, and a slim build. She was standing at 5’0”, not much taller than her easel. Jeremy walked closer and had a chance to study her artwork. She has a simple, yet colorful and pleasant style. Her brush strokes which go in different directions keep the painting from being flat. Similar to Jeremy, the woman uses a palette with multiple colors of paint squeezed on top to dip the brush in.

Jeremy

“Hi there. You’re a very good artist. I like your painting.”

Artist

Slightly startled. “Thank you. Do you paint as well?”

Jeremy

“Yes, I do. Couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Artist

“Can’t argue with that. Do what you love, right?”

Jeremy

“Yes. I’m guessing you enjoy painting yourself?”

Artist

“I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember. Never get tired of it. I especially love to paint nature.”

Jeremy

“Feelings mutual. Most mornings I go outside and find a quiet spot to capture the sunrise.”

Artist

Glances at Jeremy and smiles while still painting. “It’s nice to meet a fellow artist that appreciates the gift of nature.”

Jeremy

“Thank you. My name is Jeremy.”

Artist

“My name is Cynthia. Nice to meet you, Jeremy.”

Jeremy

“Nice to meet you, too, Cynthia.” Begins to set up his easel and canvas a few feet away from Cynthia. “Mind if I paint alongside you?”

Cynthia

“Not at all. You paint for a living, right? Don’t let my presence stop you, Jeremy!”

Jeremy

Chuckles while continuing to prepare. “All right, I won’t!”

 

Jeremy and Cynthia continued to paint together in scheduled locations for the next week and greatly enjoyed each other’s company. Jeremy decided to wait before asking to take his relationship with Cynthia to another level. For now, it was nice to know that there was another artist in the world.

 


Submitted: July 03, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Shad Henriquez. All rights reserved.

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