Artists notice things. The palest orange on the prickly center of a dahlia. Inky purple resting on mountaintops, exhausted after a storm.
Nina ached to paint it all.
Serious artists thought that way. Every eyeful either sparked a desire to paint or brought to mind a finished painting.
Nina glanced at the wall sconces in the Caspian Hotel hallway and thought of one of her favorites: a monarch butterfly. The prism of jewel tones above the sconces created a distinct fan pattern similar to her butterfly watercolor. She recalled the praise she had received from colleagues over her technique. She sat with that a moment before continuing along the hall.
The Aspen County Art Society held an annual contest. This year, she had received the nod to judge. It wasn’t surprising. She’d worked hard, getting her name out there and entering her paintings in prestigious nationwide shows. The Caspian, mere steps from The Art Loft where Nina worked, made judging convenient. She wouldn’t have to juggle her part-time shifts.
She adored her job. Spouting facts about artists no better than herself to lookie-loo tourists punching their annual culture card kept her focused. Tisha (the name her mother preferred instead of Patricia) lived close by The Galleries, an urban oasis of kitschy art shops and creative alcoves that covered a swath of land behind the Caspian. Backlit by blue-green, jagged mountains, The Galleries spread out like a labyrinth surrounded by evergreens, The Art Loft nestled inside. Occasional lunches with Tisha always proved amusing. The twosome was yin and yang; Tisha, mischievous and forthright; Nina, serious minded.
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