Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 44 - Ritual

Every morning I go through a little ritual. I clean off the little white table. I carefully select a clean sheet of paper and place it on the table. I slowly open paint pots, one by one, until the rainbow of colors is ready to be used. I grab the brushes, paper towels and water, ready to clean up any messes that may occur. Then I sit in a tiny pink chair and wait.

The master approaches the paper. She selects a brush. She peruses the colors. She pauses over one before moving on to another, to the right color. She grasps her brush. Wielding it like a weapon, she stabs it into the paint pot until it is covered in her chosen color.

She turns to the page, looking for the perfect place to make her mark. The brush slowly touches the paper, one stroke maybe two. Having served its purpose, the brush is discarded and another is selected. The ritual begins again.

As the master's apprentice, it is my job to clean the brushes. To make sure that all traces of paint are removed so that the colors remain bright and true. An errant splash of green in the white paint would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. The paint must not mix in the pots, it can only mix on the paper.

So there I sit in my tiny pink chair, wiping the brushes on the paper towel. Rinsing and wiping until no color remains. I repeat this task many times, waiting for the masterpiece to be complete.

When it is finally done, she hands it to me so I can marvel at her talent, her brilliance. There is no denying it, what she has created has no equal. It deserves to be hung in the Louvre, the Prado alongside the other masters. I am humble in her presence.

The menial task of clean up falls to me, the master cannot be bothered. So I slowly, carefully close the lids on all the paint pots. I gather the brushes. And then I glance down at my own work. The simple paper towel used for wiping the master's brushes appears to have been touched by her genius. There is no way that I, her lowly servant, could have created something so wonderful. But there it is, a reflection of her work and of my efforts, a thing of beauty has been created.

I look forward to tomorrow so our ritual can begin again.

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