This painting reminds me of a short story I wrote a few years back. A woman named Lucie is in New Mexico on a painting commission. She paints… not the horse she was hired to paint but the horse that moves her. The horse that is being healed by the horse whisperer she’s falling for. It’s a love story from all directions. Now that I’m in New Mexico painting horses, I thought it would be a good time to share a passage or two from the story. And I’ll post the full story and provide the link before the month is out for anyone who is interested.
She painted wildly. Lucie painted like she had just discovered how to paint and didn’t have enough time to perform all her ideas. She viewed each color like it was a person, and sometimes people argued with one another–colors argued for placement. This tickled her and added a dimension of complexity to the layers. Every color has every color in it, she thought. She was pulled by the weight of a color; how it takes shape. The muscles in the horse were taking shape now, everything in the composition raced for its ultimate place—its home on the surface. She stopped and looked across the pasture at the dimly lit house where Brooks clanked about in the kitchen.
She flashed back on him with the stallion earlier. His body movements, skilled and precise, slowly building a mirror in the world the stallion could count on. How Brook’s boots were filled with the dirt the stallion kicked at him, yet, his face remained soft. She envied his contentment; she wondered what the skin of his back felt like.
Lucie put on her nightgown and kept painting. She had many nightgowns stained with paint. She just kept going back to the Goodwill to buy more. As she painted the horse’s eye memories flooded her, tore at her insides—her mother’s laughter, bad cooking and recent divorce. Her sweet dog’s death, the man she wanted to father her child—the child she lost. Sometimes life does this: it looks like a journey on the open road. And then, all too quickly events cluster together, buzz and needle at your good intentions until you can’t remember the open road—and you go faster, you fight, you run, you try to make motion exorcise the bad memories so you can be new again.
Painting faster now, Lucie felt powerfully drawn to the dim light at the house where he slept. Sending a ripple of panic, she painted faster still, oil paint flying out everywhere — in places she would discover in the morning light.
~ excerpt from short story “Flight” by Niya C. Sisk