I sat next to the fountain and watched her paint. Her brush moving easily between easel and palette. Her eyes flitting between subject and painting. She looked like a natural; like every sinew, fibre and muscle in her body had been honed for this moment. The way she perched at the edge of the square, the way she mixed her colours, the way she moved her brushes told me this woman was good. She looked like she could paint birdsong.
I was on my lunch break. I’d just bought a newspaper and a Milky Way with the intention of killing the last 20 minutes with the crossword and the snack I could eat between meals without ruining my appetite. But instead of playing with words, an artist at work provided me with plenty of entertainment on this bright, breezy, washing drying day. So mesmerised was I by her gracefulness, that even the chocolate bar lay unopened on the bench beside me.
I couldn’t see her work in progress but that didn’t matter, in fact that was better. Surely the real beauty was in the creating, not the creation. I watched a small smile appear on her lips, and then vanish as quickly as it had appeared; as if a happy thought had flitted into her head like a butterfly and then danced away again. I watched her wipe away sweat from her brow with the back of her hand, still holding the brush between finger and thumb. Her brush strokes reminded me of a conductor; her brushes were her baton, her canvass was her orchestra.