three bodies: the Artist’s Hand

The Artist’s Hand

The hand is not the artist’s fault. It is the accident’s.

The curves are stiffer now, not proper, not like the fluid curves of last year’s paintings.

The critics praised the details. Nimble fingers can do that. Can do the tender tendrils of leaves, or the many shades of snow when it’s about to melt.

The artist feels like she’s wearing a glove now.

(The hand feels like another person’s hand. Another artist‘s hand.)

People used to come to her garden to watch her paint. Her hand was an attraction then – assured and fast, like the painting had always been there. Now she hesitates, and so she locks the garden gate and paints from inside the house. Her hand gets easily cold now. Even if it’s like wearing a glove whenever she tries to paint now, after the accident her fingers get cold and stiff even in summer.

It’s not the artist’s fault when her paintings lose the details, the leaves and the many shades of snow. She has to ball her fists many times before starting work now. Instead she relies on the basic allure of color. The critics will call it purity, a breakthrough. The artists calls it that moment when the pads of your fingers have gone numb but you keep working as if guided by an invisible but clear purpose. She doesn’t have to feel the brushstrokes anymore herself. They are there on the canvases. The artist’s hand heals but it’s never what it used to be. The artist’s art changes into something else. Her body dictates color, length, relief. Her paintings are no longer trapped by her skills, by her precision.

Eventually she opens the garden gate and people come and watch her make a ball with her first before starting and watch colors fall like leaves.

read all of three bodies

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