Don’t Fall In Love With An Artist

He’ll sit in his studio for hours and hours while you sit on the couch in the sitting room occasionally brewing coffee and taking it to him. Each time you’ll come to take the cup away you’ll find it cold and not drunk. Still, you’ll make another one and hope perhaps he’ll take a sip of it this time at least. You’ll sit alone and read Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns but reach for a tissue every time he stuns you with revelations and vivid descriptions with his adjectives and metaphors. You’ll sit there hanging on every word and holding your breath with each page turn. He, your artist, will still be in the studio drawing and painting and sketching while he mumbles to himself about shading techniques. Your eyes will flutter as you battle with nature over the sleep your body should have but you’ll lose. Then you’ll fall asleep by one A.M. on that very couch still waiting for him to finish that spot of cross hatching he was on.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

Morning will arrive and the rays of the sun will fall on your shut eyes. Slowly you’ll awaken to stiff muscles and find yourself laying in the same place as you’d fallen asleep with your books strewn across your legs. Your feet will lead you back to the studio which you’ll find devoid of human inhabitants. On you’ll go up the stairs to the bedroom only to find him asleep and under the sheets, snoring ever so slightly in the way that you find endearing. You’ll shut the door quietly and shower while you think about plot twists and plot outlines and suspense. After you’ve poured out yet another cup of coffee and washed it, you’ll peer into the studio and find his fingers swiping at charcoal as the paper becomes more black than white.
“No, no, no” he’ll murmur. “You’re not supposed to see it until I’m done.”
You reply smiling that yes, maybe it’ll be a nicer surprise to see it in it’s completed state. But your words hang in the air unheard as he hunches over a patch of paper frowning about perspective and drawing grids and realism.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

You’ll purchase two entry tickets for the book fair you’ve been dying to go to all week. Tons of your favourite authors will be there; like Okey Ndibe whose book left you feeling empty and short of closure, Kwei Quartey whose detective series thrust you into the ghettos of Ghana and Lola Shoneyin that made people stare at you because you were laughing aloud at Baba Segi’s silly decisions in her book The Secret Lives’ of Baba Segi’s Wives. Minutes will fly and eventually you’ll be left with no other choice than to call him because it could just be that he’s held up in traffic. He’ll answer and sigh as he explains that he’s just finishing the background finally and that do you know how hard it is to mix primary colors to get the exact shades you want? No, you’ll say as you pick up a copy of I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and read the blurb. He’ll tell you he’s going to an art exhibition on the other side of town, will be back later and don’t stay up for him.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

By the side of the door you’ll drop your bags full of new books you just can’t wait to start as you fish through your purse to find the key to the front door. But it’ll open inwardly to display him standing there, bleary eyed with tufts of hair standing upwards in different directions and a 6B pencil behind his ear. His T-shirt has smudges of oil paint and water colour and graphite. He tells you he didn’t stay so long at the exhibition and he’s been working in the studio, but I’m glad you’re back so you’ll make me a coffee. Of all the semantics and syntax you’re familiar with, you’ll step into the house quietly and stay nothing as you struggle to carry your bags in. Neither does he because he’s left you alone again to return to his beloved masterpiece in the making.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

A nudge will stir you awake. It’s three in the morning and you’ve only been asleep for two hours. Your reading glasses are still where you left them, on your face, before you sleepily shut Igoni Barrett’s bestseller, Blackass that has had all the best reviews on Brittle Paper. You’ll take them off and see him standing over you excitedly hurrying you up and out of the duvet you’re under. You can list pages full of synonyms and antonyms and spoonerisms but for the life of you, have no idea why he is so excited. Chattering animatedly as he begins to explain to you what trompe l’oeil means even though you’ve narrated him the plot of Nancy Reisman’s novel with that same phrase as it’s book title. You don’t remind him, instead you let him talk. He makes a show of ushering you into the dimly lit studio then he asks if you’re excited to see it as your lips part to let your thoughts out his hands swiftly pick at the edges of the silky, lilac material he’s used to cover the easel and takes it off in one deft motion.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

You’ve bitten your bottom lip and your mouth is full of that bitter, metallic taste blood has. This one time you say something, you ask who the girl in the portrait is and why he chose to draw her. You question him about the amount of detail and attention he’s paid to her unclad body lying on a messy bed. He stops, startled. For once he is mute and then he explains that she was an artistic experiment, something of a muse that had his creative senses tingling. He explains that it’s nothing really, just a piece of art but oh look at how amazing it is and how real her bosom looks you can almost reach for it on the canvas. Isn’t is great to capture a human like that and make them simply immortal? The bitter, metallic taste has become stronger now. You stand there wondering what Minny in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help would do, no doubt she’d spill forth her anger and frustration.

Don’t fall in love with an artist

You’re on a flight back to your hometown and in a window seat. You count clouds in between book breaks. You’ve just finished reading Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz for the one hundredth time even though you know each paragraph on all the pages you flip. The man next points to the closed book in front of you and starts a conversation by asking you what you thought of the point of view in it. You both talk for the rest of the flight and as you’re about to take your backpack from the luggage overhead, he slips a sheet of paper folded into a minuscule mass into your pocket. In the taxi, after you’ve finished with immigration, you remember the paper. You slowly open it and find a poem you do not recognize and his phone number below. A smile creeps upon your face as it dawns on you that the poem is an original. You think of him and realize that falling in love with an artist isn’t such a good idea after all but perhaps a writer will work out just fine.

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23 thoughts on “Don’t Fall In Love With An Artist”

  1. One time I disagree with you. Everything you narrated about the routines of an Artist are almost true except for the neglect, of the one he loves and care about. Artists are hopelessly romantics. Unless you’re with the wrong person.

    1. Lol. Undeniably all writers, readers and artists are hopeless romantics, but when your interests are largely different from your partner you’ll find you won’t always be on the same page. Especially for artists, they’re always fiercely proud of what they do first before all other forms of art, like writing. Thank you for reading.

  2. Wow! Wonderful write-up! You really built up the suspense quite well & had me thinking “What if the artist was a female? Would she have acted differently?”. Keep it up!!!

  3. 😁😁😁🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥Deeee!!! This is fire! But this got me thinking, would I pick a writer over an artist? You can’t predict a writer! There’s never a routine and I want more than having sweetness written about me in black and white and I’d wanna inspire but definitely not ones that spits fire like a dragon and venom like a snake. . . at least, you have a hope with writers, they probably might do more than make a portrait/oil painting of you but still, I do know female writers are hopeless romantics who deserve an artist or a fellow writer or far from it?

  4. Pingback: Dating a Writer |
  5. Wow! Great read. The artist’s love for his art outweighs his love for his woman in importance. He should’ve found a muse in his girlfriend instead… Lol. Please, more of this.

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