The Art Studio

Danielle interrupted him, “Do you have a moment Samuel?” She asked.

He immediately put down his brush. They worked in a converted church in the artistic district. Danielle had her studio down the hall from his. He admired her work, her vivacity, and her ability to get to the core of a subject. Although she was married and had two children, he thought of her, usually when he had a difficult problem with a painting, or when he lay alone at night in bed.

They walked across the hall to her studio, all bare walls, curtained windows designed to keep distraction to a minimum. Coverings hid unknown work, latent or complete. The lighting took aim at her current work. He flinched when he saw the portrait was of his former model, Elena. They had had a relationship, and he still saw her occasionally.

The pungent odor of paint and solvent hung in the air. He stood with his arms folded, studying the picture from a side angle while Danielle examined it from head on but farther back than he was, out of his line of vision. A drop cloth, spattered with paint lay beneath the easel from which the painting hung.

There were two portraits of Elena, but the central one garnered the attention of each artist— a simple pose of her seated on a stool with her hands in her lap. Samuel new well the upward tilt of her chin, her long brown hair draped behind her back. He wondered if Danielle knew of his relationship with Elena.

In the painting, Elena wore a necklace he had given her. He remembered the feel of her neck when he latched it for her, in the early days of their relationship when everything was fresh.

Danielle caught the essence of Elena perfectly in pallid blue and gray. Still, Elena maintained her typical, determined expression, with her shoulders held back and her head held high. Within that expression lay the key to Elena, but he never understood the puzzle of her and he didn’t care anymore.

His interest turned to the artist. He’d never dared pursue a married woman before. “This is a marvelous painting,” he said.

Her eyes sparkled. “Thank you.”

He hoped her appreciation was for more than his artistic expertise. He touched her lightly on the arm, just for a moment. She waited, quietly, expecting, he knew, a more clinical assessment of her work.

He had plenty to say about the painting, all of it complimentary, but he put her off. “I have to get back to my painting,” he said, their eyes still locked. “I’d like to talk to you in depth about this portrait. Are you available for dinner this evening?”

“I am available,” she said.

 

The Cockpit

Basil looked about the cockpit as if with new eyes, remembering the first time he stepped into a 737: all knobs, gadgets, and blue-lit screens surrounded him. He felt the power of the space, snug and claustrophobic. He longed for that power to be his, alone.

“You all right, Basil?” Jim Archer, the pilot of this flight asked. “I can’t have my first officer getting sick on me.”

Basil balked. “I’m fine,” he said. He felt a headache coming on. He and Archer went through training together. He still remembers their graduation date, ten years ago to the day, July 9th, 2005.He hated that Archer was had made captain but he still hadn’t. The requirements weren’t fair; they were stacked against him.

“You sure? You’re all red in the face.”

Basil didn’t answer, but went back to his prestart checklist. His hands were shaking. “Hydraulic Pump Switches—on, Landing Gear Lever—down, Flaps—down.” He checked them off on his electronic pad.

He glanced at Archer, calmly working on his own checklist. The guy had no idea this would be his last flight. Basil heard the rumbling of passengers behind him boarding the plane, and the voice of Julia, one of the flight attendants welcoming them aboard, in her pleasant voice. Basil knew she was faking it. She hated the public as much as he did. He’d given up on his romantic notions toward her. Bedding Julia would be another fail in a long list of failures, but, he thought, he was doing her a favor; she wouldn’t have to put up with snotty passengers ever again. If only he could tell her his brilliant plan; then, she might show her appreciation.

He turned back to his checklist, his peripheral attention remaining on Jim. Jim whistled beneath his breathe, a soft, airy melody of his own creation. A concerto of ignorance, Basis thought. He’d have to incapacitate Jim before he could take the plane down. He stepped out of the cockpit and returned with two large cups of coffee, and handed one to Jim.

Jim extended his hand for the cup. “Thanks, just what I need.”

Basil flaunted a cocky smile. By the time they reached cruising altitude, Jim would have to take a piss. Then, he’d lock him out of the cockpit. He’d take a piss himself, right on the pilot’s seat. Then, he’d take the plane down. Nobody would be able to stop him.

Instructor Response

Hey Russ—

Well done. This assignment demonstrates well how setting is created within story. And good scenes, too. Lots of movement, with conflicts up front and then resolutions. Good work!

 

The Art Studio

Danielle interrupted him, “Do you have a moment Samuel?” She asked.

He immediately put down his brush. They worked in a converted church in the artistic district. Danielle had her studio down the hall from his. He admired her work, her vivacity, and her ability to get to the core of a subject. Although she was married and had two children, he thought of her, usually when he had a difficult problem with a painting, or when he lay alone at night in bed.

They walked across the hall to her studio, all bare walls, curtained windows designed to keep distraction to a minimum. Coverings hid unknown work, latent or complete.  The lighting took aim at her current work. He flinched when he saw the portrait was of his former model, Elena. They had had a relationship, and he still saw her occasionally.

The pungent odor of paint and solvent hung in the air. He stood with his arms folded, studying the picture from a side angle while Danielle examined it from head on but farther back than he was, out of his line of vision. A drop cloth, spattered with paint lay beneath the easel from which the painting hung.

There were two portraits of Elena, but the central one garnered the attention of each artist— a simple pose of her seated on a stool with her hands in her lap. Samuel new well the upward tilt of her chin, her long brown hair draped behind her back.  He wondered if Danielle knew of his relationship with Elena.

In the painting, Elena wore a necklace he had given her. He remembered the feel of her neck when he latched it for her, in the early days of their relationship when everything was fresh.

Danielle caught the essence of Elena perfectly in pallid blue and gray. Still, Elena maintained her typical, determined expression, with her shoulders held back and her head held high. Within that expression lay the key to Elena, but he never understood the puzzle of her and he didn’t care anymore.

His interest turned to the artist. He’d never dared pursue a married woman before. “This is a marvelous painting,” he said.

Her eyes sparkled. “Thank you.”

He hoped her appreciation was for more than his artistic expertise. He touched her lightly on the arm, just for a moment. She waited, quietly, expecting, he knew, a more clinical assessment of her work.

             He had plenty to say about the painting, all of it complimentary, but he put her off.  “I have to get back to my painting,” he said, their eyes still locked. “I’d like to talk to you in depth about this portrait. Are you available for dinner this evening?”

“I am available,” she said.

Great. You created the setting without detracting from characterization or story line.

The Cockpit

Basil looked about the cockpit as if with new eyes, remembering the first time he stepped into a 737: all knobs, gadgets, and blue-lit screens surrounded him. He felt the power of the space, snug and claustrophobic. He longed for that power to be his, alone.

“You all right, Basil?” Jim Archer, the pilot of this flight asked. “I can’t have my first officer getting sick on me.”

Basil balked. “I’m fine,” he said. He felt a headache coming on. He and Archer went through training together. He still remembers their graduation date, ten years ago to the day, July 9th, 2005.He hated that Archer was had made captain but he still hadn’t. The requirements weren’t fair; they were stacked against him.

“You sure? You’re all red in the face.”

Basil didn’t answer, but went back to his prestart checklist. His hands were shaking. “Hydraulic Pump Switches—on, Landing Gear Lever—down, Flaps—down.” He checked them off on his electronic pad.

He glanced at Archer, calmly working on his own checklist. The guy had no idea this would be his last flight. Basil heard the rumbling of passengers behind him boarding the plane, and the voice of Julia, one of the flight attendants welcoming them aboard, in her pleasant voice. Basil knew she was faking it. She hated the public as much as he did. He’d given up on his romantic notions toward her. Bedding Julia would be another fail in a long list of failures, but, he thought, he was doing her a favor; she wouldn’t have to put up with snotty passengers ever again. If only he could tell her his brilliant plan; then, she might show her appreciation.

He turned back to his checklist, his peripheral attention remaining on Jim. Jim whistled beneath his breathe, a soft, airy melody of his own creation. A concerto of ignorance, Basis thought. He’d have to incapacitate Jim before he could take the plane down. He stepped out of the cockpit and returned with two large cups of coffee, and handed one to Jim.

Jim extended his hand for the cup. “Thanks, just what I need.”

Basil flaunted a cocky smile. By the time they reached cruising altitude, Jim would have to take a piss. Then, he’d lock him out of the cockpit. He’d take a piss himself, right on the pilot’s seat. Then, he’d take the plane down. Nobody would be able to stop him.

Great again. Setting created without a missed step in the story. 

 

Thanks for the submission!

Bill

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