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  • Jai Morton

Artist (and smoker)

She wanted to have the kind of hands an artist would have after a week’s work. Long, dainty, but weathered in parts — where she held the brush, where she twirled her hair in thought, where she bit at her nail, stuck for creativity. Nails slightly dirty, a watery stain of blue on her palm and pinky finger. Her skin a little dry from the acrylics and water.


She brings this woman, this artist, alive in her mind.


Rising early and restless, she wears dungarees and spots, taking a morning stroll to wake up, following the sun. It is English countryside somewhere, fresh, wildflowers. Her hair is a reddish-brown, and takes on that stylish messy look all by itself. Her nose is freckled. She makes strong black coffee, thinks about a cigarette and resists at least five times, doodles on the paper as she leafs through it. Toast and an orange for breakfast.


She contemplates her latest canvas by 10am. Today she knows exactly what she needs to lay down next, and mixes colours quickly. A rich aqua, reminiscent of childhood candy, a burnt caramel orange, fuchsia. She applies paint thickly from the canvas’ left bottom corner, expanding to its centre. Before adding water to dilute it, creating transparent layers. The paint water is a bluey-grey. She plays some instrumental. Losing steam by 2pm.


Waning, she leaves the room, lights a cigarette on the porch. There are birds swirling in the sky in the distance. She daydreams, losing sight of the birds. She had a lover until recently. She started replaying little flickers of their last night together. They’d spilt red wine on the sheets.


Fixing a hearty salad, she returned to the canvas. It needed deep reds now, purples, plums. Working into the night, it was after 9pm when she’d gotten it out of her system.


She eats dinner late, thinks of her lover. Takes another stroll under the moon.


Scrubbing her hands clean, the sink fills with a murky brown. Nails uneven, paint between her fingers, spilling into the creases of her palm, dried, and cracking over her knuckles.




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