Canvas 16: Painting In Public
There was nobody around when I first got there. Literally. The coffee shop was closed and I had to wait for the barista to arrive. She was ten minutes late. She said it was because her cat was hacking up a hairball and it was the first time it’d happened. It made her really nervous. I told her I know the feeling and it’s the reason I switched to just using a comb. She didn’t laugh.
She asked why I was carrying a canvas and a silver suitcase. I told her I needed to try something, but that it’d be out of the way and super creative. She shrugged, unlocked the door, and stepped behind the counter.
I set up on one of the community tables in the center. They keep newspapers by the door, usually a few days old, so I grabbed one and laid the paper out in case of spillage.
“What’ll you have?” she asked.
“The usual,” I replied.
“What’s your usual?”
With the medium black at the far edge of the table I placed the empty canvas in the middle.
“Looks like you’re going to be making quite the mess,” she said.
“I’ll clean up whatever happens,” I replied. “Blue. This needs some blue.”
As the canvas turned from white to blue people started to funnel in. Some took interest and stood around for a moment or two, others walked by without so much as a glance. I know because I watched everyone as they walked in, easy procrastination is a dangerous temptation.
“There’s blue paint swirling in my black coffee, and I kind of like it. Not the taste, I mean, the way it looks. This feels like where the piece should go. The final destination.”
“You’re going to pour coffee onto your painting?” asked the barista.
“That’d be a waste of precious lifeforce,” I replied. “I’ll mimic the color with another paint.”
An intrigued audience formed as the paints began to swirl together.
“There’s one thing I forgot to mention,” I said, looking over to the barista.
“And what’s that?”
“I’m going to have to leave this here to dry.”