she decides it’s time to try and paint a portrait of herself.
for years now she’s dabbled in art, picking and choosing mediums at whim and discarding subjects without discerning first. there’s not one thing that suits her, she knows this after months of working on one after the other.
there’s dozens of canvases lying around, some hung on walls as a point of pride and others strewn across the floor – their subjects are wild, varied and when she assesses them she realizes that she has no style of work. there is nothing by which someone could identify her work, and she sees it when a visitor remarks on her wide collection.
comments on the variety of artists.
she brainstorms, sitting in the evening light with pen and paper, tries to work out the aesthetic that she wants surrounding her image.
fire or ice – heaven or hell – a dozen similar opposites whirl through her mind, and she slashes through one after the other. she can’t paint them all, that would be narcissistic, and so she decides to select two: one for practice and one for keepsakes. she carries on with her list well into midnight, straining her eyes against the dark and surprised when she looks up to find the sky outside darkened to indigo ink, streetlights brightly haloed.
she falls asleep over her notepad and wakes to light a candle, stares at it until the flame burns gold over the whiteness of the candle wax. once she’s awoken she throws chilled water over her face and drinks coffee that’s almost hot enough to singe the roof of her mouth, picks up pencils and the sketchbook she bought a month ago.
breaks in the first empty page with herself wreathed in fire, fire sparkling from her fingertips, brushing over her manicure and sweeping at the hems of her dress. it’s too bold, too cruel, and she flips to the polar opposite, draws crystalline hunks of ice in for jewellery and a gown of snow.
they don’t work.
she scribbles herself in a variety of styles, poses and genres and none of them fit her. she browses online, comes back and draws two people sitting at tea; herself with a book; herself in mid-twirl; herself with a violin and another self seated at the piano.
none of them are suitable and in the end she has a book all about herself.