The smell of paint filled my nose as the painting supplies were brought out. We were going to paint in class that day and everyone was buzzing with excitement. We were all told to put on our painting aprons, and so we scrambled to get to where they were kept. I slid my uniform red apron over my shirt, bunching up the sleeves to free my hands.
Once I was assigned an easel I stood in front of it. I stared at the large blank paper that was much bigger than my head and picked up a paintbrush. What did I want to paint?
I began with a sun. The kid next to me had painted a sun, so I figured it was a place to start. They had painted their sun in the other top corner though, so mine wasn’t going to be the same. As I continued to put colour on the page, I suddenly had a great idea. I started to paint faster, with more passion. The smile on my face grew wider than before. Many colours started to blur together as I painted. My sun gained a green edge as I tried to paint the bright blue sky around it. After I had finished I stood and admired my work.
The large, twisting, scaly, purple dragon stared at me, a look of betrayal on his face, as all around him were flowers: a vast field of flowers as far as the eye could see, flowers of many different shapes and colours. The dragon was allergic to flowers and pollen made him sneeze. He tried to stave off the inevitable with careful breaths and a claw under his nose. Alas, it was too late! He sneezed hard and fast, fire spewing out of his mouth and across the field, burning many flowers in its wake. The sun shone brightly in the corner of the canvas, suspended in a bright blue sky. I enthusiastically pointed out the details in my masterpiece. My teacher squinted at the seemingly random blobs of paint on the canvas, smiling and nodding as she wrote my intricate painting description in a small column down the side of the paper.
“What a wonderful story to go with your picture, Mikayla,” she said as she wrote, “be sure to share it with your Mum when she comes to pick you up today, I’m sure she’d love to hear it.”
I grinned even wider as excitement filled me up. I knew Mum would love my masterpiece.
When I saw Mum that afternoon I quickly jumped at the opportunity to tell her all about my painting and the dragon that was sneezing in the flower field. Mum thought my story was amazing and told me that she thought it was really cool. She was very interested in the painting and got me to point out the details as well as how the story was told in the picture. She smiled when she saw my teacher’s description running down the side of the paper in a neat column and commented that mine was the only painting with such a long description of what it was.
Once we arrived at home I showed it to Dad and my younger sister Rachel. Dad exclaimed, “It looks great, sweety!” as he patted me on the shoulder. Both he and Rachel said it looked really cool.
That day, I felt like an artist, like I could do anything. I was filled with encouraging words and armed with an imagination. To others, that painting may just have been some blobs of paint on a canvas, and not particularly impressive, but, to me, it was my masterpiece.
Years later, I lean back in my desk chair, stretching out my arms. I smile as I look at the sketchbook that is laid out in front of me. The book is open to a freshly finished page. A sprawling fantasy map is spread across the paper with territories of different creatures marked with neat, dotted lines. There are mountain ranges, hilly areas, urbanised spaces, bridges, and coral reefs all marked with small symbols. Different biomes are indicated with coloured pencil shading: latitudinal lines helping to show general biome trends. I grin at my masterpiece, proud of how far I’ve come. I quickly take a photo to send to a few of my friends. As I await their replies, I gaze at my masterpiece.
It is not that painting of a sneezing dragon I made all those years ago, but the feeling in my chest is similar, and with it, there is a little nostalgia for the younger me. I plan to use this map to help me write a fantasy story, but for now it’s only a drawing: a drawing, and the ideas that are bubbling within my head. Over time, the masterpiece changes, but I hope I can always find that joy of creating something that I’m proud of.
Sheridan graduates will be...
South Wing Building
Suite 1, 10 Nash Street
Perth WA 6000
West Wing Building
Suite 18, 7 Aberdeen Street
Perth WA 6000