Suddenly, a vibrant burst of color flashed into the corner of Miranda’s eye. The couple who’d been talking behind her stepped into view right beside her art-table, the woman wearing lime polyester that shone unnaturally bright against the wooden tables and eucalyptus trees.
The man exclaimed, “Oh, look at those exquisite little paintings!”
“Well, if you like that sort of art.” The woman now addressed Miranda. “Young lady? I think you can do better with that ocean color, don’t you? It just isn’t quite right.”
The man blanched. “Henrietta!”
The woman’s face had taken on an aspect of Mighty Purpose. “Well, some days it is that dark, but not in summer.”
The husband’s hands lifted briefly, then plunged into his pockets where they rattled change.
The woman leaned in for another look at the unfinished piece. “No,” she confirmed, “never in summer.”
Interesting that she noticed the darker shade. Should I bother to explain? An entire lesson in painting began to play through Miranda’s mind: choosing the type of paint appropriate to the subject matter, using a practiced painter’s eye that could observe the deepest hue in a multi-patterned surface like water, the concept of transparent color-layering, the technique of matching and applying that deeper color first.
Miranda and the woman’s husband locked eyes for a moment. As though he’d received a full transmission of her thought, he grabbed his wife’s hand and tugged at it.
“What?” the woman snapped. “Hungry,” he managed. “Well, why didn’t you just say so?” The woman rolled her
eyes at Miranda. “These men and their stomachs!” She shook her head. “You keep painting, dear. Someday you might be real good.” Jerking slightly as her husband yanked again at her hand, the Lime Woman smiled conspiratorially, then toddled across the garden.
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