Sketching in the Dark
Zach Sneddon

I scratch away at the thick bond with black carbon;
A crinkled heap of wasted efforts litter the oaken studio floor.
I tramp off in disgust, frustration, bitterness.
I placate the demons with vacant distractions and Icelandic spring water in a busy room.
Better to network with like-minded artists,
Restlessly seeking for something worth drawing,
Than cloister myself away in a north-facing room,
Accomplishing nothing.

Expecting nothing, I hope for the best.
I succumb to the urge to sketch again.
I cannot help but retrieve my charcoal and chalks,
Set off down the road in search of a subject.

What have we here?

I meet a sculptress, herself molded by hands guided by a mind of sublime skill.
Perhaps she will accompany to my studio,
Pose for me, allow me the honor.

To my stupefaction, she accepts,
On the condition that I pose for her as well;
I have no misgivings.

Never have I produced such a likeness.
In black, white, and shades of grey I capture every nuance of line,
But I fail to capture the subtlety of hue in my sketch.
Such charm as is possessed by my model must be declaimed;
It is a sin to ignore the virtue of such a one!
So I purchase a canvas.

On this I ponder as I mix my pigments;
Cadmium, lapis, lead, vermilion, oxides.
The pestle scrapes the mortar repetitively, soothingly, meditatively,
As I study the sculptress from diverse angles, in multifarious qualities of light.
I learn her tones and shades without reserve;
The pale ivory of her skin,
The warm strawberry of the freckles blushing her cheeks,
The delectable plum of her soft lips,
The apple-red of her areolae,
Mahogany eyes, and hair of spun bronze

Daily I paint,
Accentuating and downplaying, getting it nearer and nearer the truth as I perceive it.
I learn more hourly, the closer I get,
And in return the sculptress studies me,
Watches the play of tissues under skin, on a frame of bone, well-padded,
Learning more of me than I have heretofore allowed.
Baring myself for her scrutiny, as she for me,
I fill in the white spaces on the canvas with the spectrum she exhibits,
And am fulfilled


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