A blank canvass is both exhilarating and terrifying for an artist. Just think about it – greatness and mediocrity weighed in the balance, an infinite number of images and ideas, all exist in that blank canvass as potential. Not fact, not even fiction, but potential. Making that first mark is the most dangerous thing a person can do because from that moment the range of the possible becomes constrained by what is. And every successive mark further constrains what can be, until the canvass is full, all possibilities stripped away and only bare fact remaining. From this perspective, the act of creation is the most destructive thing a person can be involved in.
It sounded good, but Tim still thought it was bullshit. The canvas mounted on the wall in front of him was blank, and despite the best efforts of the artist’s blurb to convince him that displaying a blank canvass was an act of artistic heroism akin to rescuing a puppy from a burning building, he found it impossible to take the “work” seriously.
Gina, however, was enthralled. Or at least a bit more open minded.
It could be worse, some guys had girlfriends who dragged them to the mall on endless shopping trips. By contrast the museum was cheap, Gina didn’t beg him to buy the paintings for her, and he never had to reassure her that the sculptures didn’t make her look fat. If he was totally honest he even enjoyed a lot of the work. Not this big strip of nothing of course, but a lot of the work was pretty cool. His favorites were the modernist peices with their bold colors. Sure they didn’t look like anything, but they didn’t need to; they were intended to represent emotion and not physical objects. So while he wasn’t always sure which emotion it was the artist had intended (what color is love anyway?), he liked the way they made him feel.
He was startled when she grabbed him from behind, skinny arms flung around him in a big bear hug.
“I love the Monet’s!” Her tone was jubilant. “Thanks so much for agreeing to come with me to see them while they’re here. I know impressionism isn’t your favorite but the museum only has them on loan for a few more days.”
He had left her in the classic art a few minutes prior to go explore on his own and hadn’t realized she’d caught up with him.
“Oh, I don’t mind.” He gave her a broad grin. “It’s not that I dislike impressionism, it’s just that a blurry painting seems counter-intuitive. If I want to see the world as a Monet painting all I need to do is take off my glasses.”
It was an old joke, one he’d made before but she still dutifully chuckled along with him and gave him a look that made him feel like the wittiest guy in the room. She reached up and took his glasses down off his nose.
“So, how do I look as a work of art?” Her smile was coy and he didn’t need 20/20 vision to see the sparkle in her eye.
“If you were a painting I would take you home and hang you above my bed so I’d see you every night before I went to sleep and every morning first thing when I woke up. ” It sounded like a line, but he meant it sincerely.
She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.