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The Artist

By Alice Andersen
Published in ART TIMES September 2014

Irene parked her rusty blue jeep on the packed sand, leaving the headlights on in the early morning darkness. She walked to the water’s edge and breathed deeply of the moist night air. Salty droplets of spray lingered on her skin. Her hair blew into twisty little whirlwinds of red. Reaching back, she swept the pile of hair into a windblown ponytail. She pulled the colorful scarf from around her neck, tying it tightly around the bundle, and letting it drape down the soft bend of her back. The pale green peasant blouse and crinkled cotton skirt she’d purchased long ago in Mexico fluttered in the wind, hugging her long, lean legs.

With damp sand tugging at her sequined flip-flops, Irene returned to the car. Removing the heavy wooden easel and stool from the back, she set up her work area. Patches of tall sea oats and purple flowering railroad vine spread across the dunes behind her.

Irene settled in to finish her painting; capturing the sky on canvas as it began its early morning ritual of change. The gentle sound of the surf rolling on the shore was hypnotic and Irene relaxed. She experimented with her palette of colors, mixing magical combinations of orange, red, and yellow.

From a distance, a stranger photographed the scene; the dunes, the jeep, the girl, the painting, and the radiant sunrise spreading across the water. He titled the picture The Artist. His captivating photograph of the girl at work on her art won awards at shows across the nation. Her painting leans against the wall in her simple studio waiting for another trip to the sea shore.

(Alice Andersen lives in Cedaredge, CO. )