For those of you who have read my Black Earth novels, you’ll know Violet Dawn from some of the quotes at the beginning of the books, and some of the artwork found throughout the series. She’s an enigmatic character that I have yet to explore fully, but this little snippet gives me the chance to start the journey into her background.
Donald Respy, a male reporter for the Violent Underground newspaper, took a seat on the red leather couch, afraid to touch anything in her apartment. Violet Dawn was known to be a germaphobe, and she hadn’t set the rules for her place when he first arrived at her apartment to do his interview with her for the newspaper. Instead, upon answering the door, she left him in her foyer and went straight back to the canvas she was currently painting: a lonely daisy, the flower rising tall above the blades of grass surrounding it. Behind the daisy was a field of trampled flowers of many varieties and colors. Violet was in the midst of painting one of the crushed flowers, a violet.
How appropriate, Donald thought. “So, how did you come to be a painter?”
“Artist,” she corrected as she dipped her brush in some purple paint set to the side of her easel. “I am an artist.”
“But aren’t painters artists?”
“Not all painters are artists. You are only an artist if you bleed all over your work.”
Donald scribbled her quote on his notepad, unsure if he should ask a follow-up question. “So, how did you come to be an artist?”
“That was a risk that Neo took to find the truth in everything. One day, I slit my wrist – figuratively – and bled my anger, my love, and all the emotions I felt in between upon the canvas. That’s the day I became an artist.”
Donald began scribbling down her quote, and stopped for a moment to study her figure. She wore blue jeans and a red blouse, and her figure was that of a perfect hourglass. Donald wasn’t sure how old she was – she never, ever gave her age in any of her interviews – but he could easily guess she was in her thirties. The white smock she wore over her blouse had a large black oak tree embroidered on it. Her sneakers were Sketchers.
“Your stare is burning a hole into my right butt cheek,” she said, dropping her paint brush on the edge of the easel before turning to him. Her bright red hair came out from behind her head in all directions, like a long cluster of fiber optic cable. Donald was certain his cheeks had turned the same shade.
She simply grinned and motioned to the painting. “Done.”
He nodded. “Very nice.”
“Oh, I wasn’t asking your opinion,” she said. “I’m just stating a fact. I’m done. Well, not completely done.” She picked up a piece of white paper and set it on the edge of the easel underneath the painting. “This will be the caption that goes with the picture.”
Donald set his notepad on the surface of the glass coffee table and stood to get a closer look at the canvas. “And the flowers were trampled under their feet,” he read. “All of them were. But the daisy rose above the others and stood tall, carving a way through the valley to the Mountain of God. Violet Dawn.”
She nodded. “I have to get the proper plating for the caption, but other than that, I’m done.”
“What does that caption mean?”
She shrugged. “How am I supposed to know?”
“Because you wrote it.”
“I did. Artists are simply conduits, Mr. Respy. Conduits to the emotions around us. Conduits to the darkness and light in this world. Conduits to the spiritual realm. Just because I painted this painting, and just because I wrote that quote, doesn’t mean I understand what any of it really means. It’s left open for interpretation. Open for examination.” She took a step toward him, leaning in near his face so close he thought – with a delighted expectancy – that she might kiss him. “The real meaning behind the painting is the meaning you apply to it. What does this painting mean to you?”
He stepped back, giving himself room to examine her artwork more closely. “It’s a daisy that has lasted some chaotic event. Maybe some global disaster. Or maybe some kid came by and trampled all of the flowers and missed the daisy because his mother yelled for him to come home.”
Violet crossed her arms and nodded. “I can see that. What else?”
“Nothing more. I don’t know what the Mountain of God is supposed to refer to in your caption.”
“It could be anything that means something to you spiritually. Or it could be an actual mountain that God has appointed as His own.”
Donald picked up his notepad and pencil from the coffee table. “Ms. Dawn, where exactly do you get your inspiration from?”
“No more questions, Mr. Respy. You know all you need to know about me by viewing my work. Like I said before, I bleed all of myself into my work. Everything you want to know about me is on that canvas.”