Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Preternatural Portrait

My practice from the Write Practice prompt: Naturally focus and practice for five minutes using preternatural often.

Portrait of Sonia by Henri Fantin-Latour by cliff1066™

The curve of an arm, that inner curve where the forearm meets the bicep, the gentle, feminine join where the folds of fabric crease just so. That was where he had been working for three hours. This was only the rough first draft, the sketching, erasing, and resketching. Some people said he didn’t know when to stop. He had a preternatural obsession with grasping the perfect line, the exact replica of his niece’s inner elbow. Those few square inches of canvas maddened his dreams and kept him in a constant state of unrest.

Sonia sat perfectly still the whole time, looking out from her deep-set eyes with solid patience, not sighing or groaning under the weight of her perfect posture or that improbable fur stole. She knew that her uncle—no, not her uncle, the artist—cringed every time she moved. And so she sat in preternatural stillness.

When the painting was finished—weeks after he had expected to finish it, but delays were inevitable—the artist examined his work. There she was, Sonia, in all her quiet beauty. The canvas might as well have been a photographic plate, revealing the subject with a kind of preternatural reality beyond what was really real. 

Photo Credit: Portrait of Sonia by Henri Fantin-Latour, a photo by cliff1066™ on Flickr.

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