Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
Aunt Laurel hired him during August to help with renovating a bedroom. Spackle and dust, paint and stain and a broken window screen later, they’d—his dad helped too—managed to fix the water-damaged wall, put in a new window and redo the closet. Place was a mess for weeks though. Weeks filled with new school jitters chomping up Brendon’s spine.
She had him help paint the window jamb—so he learned flowers the way she wanted them—sage and tulips and periwinkles and Queen Anne’s lace and daffodils and tall sunflowers. No roses; she wasn’t a fan of such an abused flower.
And all the while, he picked her brain the same way he picked beads out of the soles of his sneakers in the car on the way home.
“New beginnings, hmm.” She sucked a lip between her teeth, then hummed a melody under her breath. “New beginnings. Starting something fresh. Bright eyes. Brand-new perspective.”
“I keep thinking butterflies batting at my ribcage.”
“Hmm, yes. The nerves. But beginnings have hope too. A lot of hope. Can’t forget that part.”
“How would I draw that though? Hope?”
“Springing forth from Pandora’s Box. A fairy, a goddess, or in your case a god, one who sees what could be, all the good, all the bad.”
Brendon scowled at the daffodil he’d been dabbing at—orange center, bright yellow petals, face turned toward the window where the sun would shine through.
“Maybe think of a way to have an underside to your painting. You mother would say Easter lilies and crosses, but I think I’d do a garden in bud. What other ideas did you have?”
Brendon muttered something and picked a long gold thread from the carpet. Aunt Laurel’s place had been littered with them. Threads and beads across her carpet, the living room, her cat—Random—smacking the larger beads across the wood floor in the kitchen.
“Maybe a roller coaster ride, at the start, going up. Or at the beginning of a book.” Or a sketchbook. Promise, so much promise, all the graphite, all the smudging soon to come and fill the bright white pages with failures and successes.
That’s what he painted. The opening of a sketchbook on a table, pencils in line all sharpened to pristine points, a paintbrush untainted with paint and unbent tubes, an empty palette and a small stack of canvases creating a frame about the first tentative lines on the paper, the shadow of his hand crossing the pristine surface.
He added a luna moth, perched on the paint palette, and argued with anyone who claimed he’d gone with butterflies after all.
Donna Pierceman took it on September third with praise and a “You’re going to have a blast in high school, Brendon, I just know it.”
Then she showcased the new beginnings theme at the gallery opening on October seventh. The painting—First Line—stayed in the gallery until the following spring, turned over into a new theme—hobbies and games—sometime in winter, long after Brendon had all but forgotten it.
Next Chapter Coming Feb 10th!