If you’re not a painter, but still incredibly creative, you’ve probably had the desire to paint at some point, even if you’ve never held a paintbrush in your hand before. Well, with today’s writing prompt, you can try to paint … with your words, at least.
See today’s full writing prompt in the post, as well as my completed version of the writing prompt which I titled, A Maltese in the Pond.
Today’s Writing Prompt: A New Painting
For today’s writing prompt, imagine you’re a painter and you’ve just started working on a new painting. Describe what you’re planning to paint in detail, and your experience while painting it.
Keep scrolling to see my completed version of this writing prompt.
Tip for Completing Today’s Writing Prompt:
Try to use descriptive and artistic adjectives to describe what you’re painting (i.e. colors and brush strokes). Also, consider what else you’re sensing while you’re painting. Are you standing outside listening to nature, noises of a city, or an older record while you paint? Can you feel the grass in your toes as you paint? Etc… Use your words to paint the scene.
A New Painting: A Maltese in the Pond by K.E. Creighton
Staring at a blank canvas isn’t as frightening as it used to be, once I got into this business. Although sometimes I must admit that I wonder whether it’s better to be terrified than relinquish a piece of your artistic soul to the billionaire class, for what to them is mere pennies.
When the light breeze tousles my bangs, forcing them to cover my eyes, I snap out of my trance. I had been slouching and looking into the distance past the duck pond behind my subject–or, model? I instantly sit up erect, look straight ahead, and attempt to gain my focus and composure. I am still a professional, after all, and now a better-fed and housed one, too. That’s what I keep reiterating to myself, at least– that with what my newest client is paying me for this commission, I’ll be able to pay my rent for the small one-bedroom place I have in the center of Eureka Square for at least three or four months. And have some extra funds to spare.
“Oh, I’m so glad I finally found you! I’ve just been dying to get a silly little painting of my silly little Zoe to give Gertie as a fun random gift. Well, forever now. What a hoot it’ll be! I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she sees it.” That’s what my new client, Birdie, had said when I first met her underneath the bright-white arch of her font portico last week. Other than that, all I remember from that day is being freakishly nervous she would spill the cosmo she was holding, a bit too casually, all over her white chiffon dress. And, of course, the sum she offered to pay me for her “silly little painting.”
While we all hate to admit it, aloud at least, there is a firm price novice “artists” like me are willing to negotiate are souls and muses for– and she had doubled mine. Screw the muses, I had told myself. You need to eat. You’ll get better commissions once you get a good client base.
I had decided last summer that I would take commission-based work after I had the most petrifying case of painter’s block imaginable, for months. I, for the life of me, could not figure out what to paint. No amount of booze and weed would help. And neither would the amount of time I had spent as an apprentice to one of the best painters of our century since Picasso or Vincent van Gogh or Frida Khalo, combined. To say I had had an existential crisis is an understatement.
So anyway, here I am now, painting a dog, trying really hard to forget all the things I learned at the Art Institute a few years back. Or anything about techniques used by some of the greatest painters who ever lived. Or my mentor, who is probably rolling over in her grave right now. She had been part of the Feminist Art movement of the 60s, so she wouldn’t get how déclassé the whole “starving artist” motif is now. In the current era, it’s more dignified to eat.
I take a deep breath in, then out, before I begin my work.
I tap the toe of my sword brush in onyx black. Then I arch my wrist and begin to outline the body of the long-haired Maltese named Zoe with hot pink bows above her ears lying down on the velvet chaise in front of me. She appears docile and sweet and is quite calm. With her like this, this commission should be almost effortless and only take a couple of hours, at most.
Next, I outline her small eyes and nose.
It’s just the two of us out on this veranda today. Her “mummy” had to go shopping for a dress to wear to an upcoming prominent art gala. The irony, or bad timing of this coincidence, had stung quite a bit. I can’t lie about that.
But, I have a job to do, so I’m going to do it well.
As I’m about to outline the chaise she’s on, Zoe’s head pops up, alert. I look up and see a drone hovering above the pond in the distance. And so does she.
Zoe jumps off the chaise and bolts. She’s headed straight toward the pond. And I can’t get up fast enough without knocking over the easel and paints. Within what feels like a few milliseconds, she’s fully submerged in the pond.
[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a draft of a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons, places, artwork, or time periods, are purely coincidental.]
Notes on writing this writing prompt
Working on this writing prompt made me think about what it means to be an artist, a creative person, in our current era. And it made me think of the post, A tortured artist is a myth. No?, that I wrote and published earlier this year. How can one become a well-known prominent artist without adequate funding? And what fuels an artist’s fears?