Prompt: What is your favorite work of art? Why?
I paused in front of the painting. It was the first one I’d noticed in this gallery that wasn’t an abstract or colors thrown haphazardly onto a canvas. This one felt… real.
It was an oil painting of a shallow creek running through a forest. How much more “real” could you get? But it was so much more than that. The artist had taken their time. They had probably stressed about it, cried over it, sworn at it, and sighed in relief once it was finally done. This piece had a voice and it was speaking to me.
I stepped closer, looking at the little card on the wall next to it. It was priced much lower than most of the other art pieces. If I were actually rich and not just pretending for the day, I would consider buying it. My walls were embarrassingly free of paintings and pictures. The captured rays of sun dappling the forest floor would certainly brighten up my dusty home. The view from the frame, though still, was better than what I got from any of my windows.
“I see you’ve found the black sheep of the group,” Jessica said. She’d invited me to take a day and walk through the gallery. Since she was my friend and I knew she had a piece on display, I had agreed. Her painting was one of the slightly more coherent abstracts.
“Did he break some rule or something?” I asked.
She laughed. “Oh, nothing as boring as that. But look around you. He’s the only one who’s done something so… ordinary.”
The painting didn’t seem ordinary to me. It felt full of life. Looking at it, I could feel the warmth of the sun, hear the stream as water ran around the rocks, and smell the musty freshness of the woods. It brought up memories of family vacations in the Porcupine Mountains. It made my heart ache with a longing to go to the place captured in the frame.
“I think it’s beautiful,” I murmured.
“Well, you’re the only one who does.” She grabbed my arm and tugged me away from the painting. “Now come look at some real art.”