Voices: The Painter

By Shannon Magura.

This piece is a short work of fiction that appeared in our June 2017 SENGVine.


Paint cans lined along the wall, any color you could imagine. Aero, Alabaster, Folly, Flax. Wide varieties, like an endless rainbow of beautiful unique colors. And, believe it or not, they weren’t used for picture painting, or for finger painting, not even for wall painting. Technically, they were for face painting. But not for the type of face painting you would expect. I would almost call it, reverse face painting.


Painter Gustave Pissaro’s job was to paint each and every child’s face that was born. Meaning, he designed their actual face! From the inside of the head, he would grab his special paint brush, and personally design every single feature on that person’s face. From the tiniest freckle, to the most detailed nose, it was all his work of art! So, now my actual story begins, where I tell you all about Painter Gustave Pissaro, and his assistant, Artist Andre Buchere. And how everyone makes mistakes, but only certain people have the power to see the perfections in them.


“I have the paint you were asking for, Painter Gustave Pissaro!”


From the door, Artist Andre Bouchere brings in at least 20 different cans of paint. Painter Gustave Pissaro is mumbling to himself, “So little time, so much to do. The doctors are expecting this girl in 2 days, I can’t let these people down….” Painter Gustave was a pretty organized and good guy, and he rarely was stressed like this.


“Sir, I have the paint you asked for. Don’t fret about it, just take a few deep breaths and don’t let the stress affect your painting.”


Painter Gustave turns around. “Oh, thank the Lord you are here, I was starting to get a bit worried. I need to start this face pronto.” Painter Gustave Pissaro picked up his magic paintbrush, and started opening the paint cans.

Artist Bouchere came over and started helping, mixing the paint well with each opening. As soon as that was done, Painter Pissaro got straight to painting, while Artist Bochere sat back and watched, taking in everything.


Painter Pissaro had a special way of painting. He started from the chin, then moved his way all the way up to the forehead. On this girl, he decided to put a lot of freckles. He chose dark tan paint and put tons of dainty dots on the girl’s chin. Next was the mouth, so he dipped his paintbrush in the strawberry lemonade color and made two thin lips. Then he rinsed off the brush and dipped it in white. He moved on to the nose, which had more than it’s fair share of freckles on it. For the nose color, he decided it to be a beige color, and he made the rest of the skin that color as well.


Now, for the hardest part of any face, the eyes.


He never knew what color to make them, or what shape. For the eyes, he wanted to make them like an endless swirl of greens and blues. A tunnel of beautiful spirals, swirling into a never ending ocean of thoughts and ideas.


So, he brought out his palette, and started mixing together every shade of blue and green he could find. Painter Gustave Pissaro blended together jade, emerald, mint, olive, azure, cyan, teal, indigo. Until he was pleased with the masterpiece he had made, then he made the outline of the eyes with black paint, and then painted the eyelids the same beige color as the nose.


Now for the tricky part, the actual eyes. First he had to make the whites of the eyes, so he drew a hollow black circle in the middle of the eye shape, and painted the outside of that white.


Next, he took his mixture of green and blue, and painted that in the inside of the circle. It was so alluring, that even Artist Andre Bouchere turned around from his work, and stood in marvel, staring at the eyes. They were hypnotizing, and when Artist Andre Bouchere saw them, he knew this girl would be beautiful. More beautiful than anyone, not because of the way her eyes looked, but because of what they held in them….. They held a future, and a bright one at that.


Painter Pissaro turned around to rinse off his paintbrush, and dipped it in the black paint to make the pupil. He repeated that process for both eyes.


After he finished the eyes, he started the eyebrows. At this point, it was really late in the day, and he needed to get this face done by tomorrow morning. As hard as he tried, he still felt rushed, and he when he got rushed, he made BIG mistakes.