The brush was ruined. It lay on the table – paint, red as blood, dry as bone, adhered to its bristles. In contrast the canvas lay bare, insufferable in its nakedness.
Sarah cast her eyes around her studio. Frames and canvasses were stacked, paints arranged, brushes ready. There were no reasons, no excuses to delay painting, nothing left to tidy.
Her wonderful creative mess which lured her out of bed each morning and kept her up late each night, was gone. The cluttered studio with brushes in jars, dirty rags and the smell of paint, was no more.
Her urge to create had evaporated. Her passion had walked out the door along with Simon and her future dreams. For a week Sarah had sat, waiting for inspiration, overwhelmed by sadness. When the inspiration hadn’t reappeared, she had cleaned; neatened, stacked, washed, scrubbed, arranged and rearranged. She had flushed out every vestige of Simon, ready to create a masterpiece.
Except her studio was now cold and unrecognizable in its order. Alien to her. The canvas taunted her, daring her to make a mark. Angrily she swept the ruined brush to the floor.
A ray of sunshine beamed through the window cutting a golden path across the empty canvas. Sarah grabbed a sable brush and a tube of Hansa yellow; with two deft strokes she captured the pathway.
She added a dark forest, grey skies and distant hills. Quickly she placed a second canvas beside the first. Sarah pictured herself emerging from the forest. She created a clearing sky. A stream that meandered through green meadows. A path crossing over a pretty bridge. Grabbing a third canvas she crossed over the bridge, to a field of wildflowers bathed in sunshine.
Sarah smiled. Paint tubes lay everywhere, rags and brushes littered the tabletop. Her studio was alien no more. The paintings were no masterpieces, but they would serve to remind her that she was her own muse. Her ability to create was never dependent upon Simon. She would paint her own way out of the forest. Sarah reached for a tube of cadmium red.