The Painted Painter:

Paints, brushes, papers, the canvas I had them all, I had them stacked, I had them stored, I had them ignored and forgotten.

A crazy idea flows and flutters and sits over my head, I decide to paint, to paint a portrait of myself.
I stand, the canvas and me, face to face staring at eachother, both hopeful, both blank, both lost.

The brush hovers in air, suspended mid-air as if a humming bird right at the moment when it came near a flower, forgot the reason why it came to it. The paints dripping as if bored by this indecision decided to paint the floor instead.

The thoughts formulate, and I paint. I paint myself in colors of all shades.

I paint myself, in colors bold and blunt, soft and vibrant, catching and repelling, I paint myself in all the hues that I could comprehend, all the hues that I could imagine.

It was done, and it was I; it was a mystery, and it was mysteriously I.

The core though, in what shades do I color it?

There wasn’t a combination that could fit my imagination of it. The color, that perfect color was at the edges of my imagination but my hands could not mix a proper combination. I visited a painter. . .

The painter having looked at my portrait mocked me and went ahead with displaying his skills with the brush.

He painted me in color white with a core black. Sensing my disapproval, he painted me again with the color black and a core white.

That was how the humans were he said and I must belong to one of these.

I went home, washed clean my portrait, I painted white with black and another, black with white. Two paintings as the painter had done.

I took each in one hand and slammed them into one another. Both had now a hint of mystery, both reduced to mere blotches, blotches of white, black and grey. This! I said, this is close to who I am, yet this was not me. I wiped it clean.

The bell rang. At the door was an old friend. . .

Praising me she held out a mirror in an attempt to make me see my true reflection. A smiling and content face stared back at me. A woman with quite attractive features, disheveled hair and a dark green stain on her right cheek, confidently stared right back into my eyes.

Elevated, I started to paint with a new vigour. This time with colors red, orange, and yellow. It was quite a beautiful portrait, but it wasn’t me. And though I wished I was that woman, I wiped her off the canvas.
The street was lively on that Sunday afternoon, people were happy and the sound of laughter and chatter seemed to lend a new life to trees and birds as well. Everything had come alive.

I set my foot out, armed with the brush and paper. People I greeted, greeted me, smiled to me and busied themselves in their chatter.

Left alone in that crowded street, I started to paint. . . my next door neighbor though, she kept glancing in my direction every now then. Should I go and say hello? I decided that I should.

We have a short talk, the usual neighborhood stuff, who is doing what and what not kind of things. It was at the time of excusing myself that I caught my reflection in her eyes. A reflection of a tired, gloomy, arrogant, and good-for-nothing girl.

And I painted, using the colors blue, purple, grey and black. Was it really I? It wasn’t I; then who was I? Dejected and confused, I wiped it clean.
The world was a strange place to be, the humans were stranger to be with, and the whole process of life was proving to be the strangest.

A mere act of painting a self portrait was rendered impossible or was it just a self portrait?

Within my life’s boundaries I knew myself or at least I pretended I did but in the end it seldom mattered what I knew or not. The only thing that mattered was, how quickly I adopted to where and how I was projected.
I would be seen and painted in a huge variety of colors, people would continue painting me in shades I never knew I could be painted with, but they would continue, and they would choose the colors they liked to choose.

Perhaps, because these are the only colors they have, perhaps they have a particular liking for these colors, or perhaps during their journey to making a self-portrait the world had painted them in these specific colors and then they had lost the sense of all the other colors in the world.


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