The Unfinished Painting


By Philip Cairns

Copyright 2002 by Philip Cairns



The unfinished painting sits on the easel.


I try to relax but it calls out to me,


Softly from the corner of the room.


"Paint me, please.


Put some blue on me.


Dip your brush in the palette.


Paint me. Please paint me."



For weeks I ignore it.


Months even.


But the soft, keening voice cries out.


I try to resist.


Terror grips me,


Fear of failure,




The little echo yells loudly sometimes.


"Finish me. I'm not done yet.


Paint me.


Paint me.


I'm begging you."



Think back to years ago at my hideous day job,


I would fantasize about the evening.


The only joy in the 24 hour cycle would be the thought of painting in the evening.


I would walk home,


Eat dinner,


Then sit down in front of my unfinished painting.


I would hear a moaning


And sighing


And purring


Lifting off the heavy rag paper.


"Dip that brush in the water.


Paint me, paint me."



I would sit in a dilapidated old arm chair staring at my potential masterpiece,


Yet I couldn't move.


The food and the day's toil would hit me and I couldn't get up from the chair.



In my mind,


I would talk back to the picture.


"Yes, I know you need vermilion in your sky.


I know you could use a few dashes of light blue.


I hear you calling me."


But I couldn't rise.


Bone weary,


Dead to the world.


Sitting there sometimes for an hour,


Unable to lift a finger.


Staring at the poor man's Van Gogh.



Tonight I am in a similar predicament.


An undone acrylic potential masterwork cries out when all I want is some sleep.


I've been whipping paint on paper since early morning.


I walk into the bathroom and everything I see looks like a painting.


The whole world looks like art.



I want to paint everything because I've been trapped for so long.


Unable to do my work,


Thinking I may never be able to play with colours again.


The whole world seems to judge everything in terms of money.


I can't fall into that well.


Just paint and write and forget about the finances.


Just get that hand shakin' away,


Dipping brushes into blues and purples and pinks,


And writing good shit with your cheap ballpoint pen.


Never mind the marketing and the cash,


Just create.










And create!!