Getting The Cogs To Fit
Michelle mixed colours never seen before, golden and fresh green daylights, purple and orange night times. She dusted over old landscapes with new ideas. She shifted perspective. She elongated trees. She owned the leisurely landscape.
Her paintings sold. They sold well. They sold for more money than Michelle thought anyone should pay for a modern day painting. She searched her canvasses for clues to their value. She eyed their competence and plausibility, their creative use of new colour, shadow, and perspective. It bewildered her. But still, she painted.
Her children grew older and left home. They had children of their own. They clattered through her house, demanding she paint their squirming babies. Her colours didn’t mix right for babies. They looked underdone and over roasted. Her children didn’t care. They oohed and ahhed. They paid for frames and hung the awful likenesses.
Her husband stopped working. Instead of packing a lunch and going to an office or wherever it was he used to go – she couldn’t quite remember, so much art in her head – he stayed in bed until late. He did odd jobs around the house and volunteered with the local historic society. He spent peculiarly long periods of time in the garden shed.
Gliding elegant into old age, Michelle woke one day compelled to paint cogs. Dry sandy dust coloured cogs. Orangey, browny, sludgy cogs. Each fitting into the other. Working in harmony. She saw them with the painterly eye that lived in the fibres of her heart. Cogs in motion, an engine to life. Each morning she painted the cogs and each evening she painted the canvass blank. The cogs refused to fit in paint the way they fit in her heart.
Alexina Dalgetty lives in Stratford, Ontario, the traditional territory of the Anishnabek, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Ojibway/Chippewa peoples. She has recently started writing short stories.