Picture yourself doing a watercolor painting on a piece of pebble board. You aren't sure what you are doing, so you use the backside, which has a light, yellowish tan cast to it. The board is about 12" high by 30" long. You draw a faint pencil guideline horizontally about a third of the way up from the bottom. That is the horizon. You sketch in a light triangle with a horizontal line starting just above the lower border and just below the horizon. You sketch in a triangular shape that stops halfway between the horizon and the top of the page. You wet the ocean area, from the horizon line do the bottom of the paper with clear water from a small sponge. You let it start to dry.
While it is drying, you float in some ultramarine blue; dark in the foreground but fading at the horizon. On the triangle, you start with the castle walls and battlements along the bottom of the island; building small blobs of houses that go up the island within the triangle. All of the stonework is a yellow ochre, burnt umber, and a mixture of other blues, reds and yellows. You let the colors set and flatten the bristles to get dry brush strokes to imply a clay tile roof.
At some point, you show a big flat plaza way above the houses. Above that a big church erupts out of the top of it, with a huge narrow steeple. Quickly you sponge down the rest of the area to create a sky. You dip some burnt umber in the top right hand corner; guide the color in diminishing amounts of pigment down to the ocean at the horizon. You add heavy amounts of ultramarine blue into the burnt umber at the right and try to drag it into the slowly drying sky. You try to get it all onto the paper at just the right times so the right amount of the church steeple bleeds into the sky to create the effect of rain at the top.
The focus of the painting is on the battlements, and the intricate pattern of buildings; the wonder of those monks and serfs who built this structure without any architects or engineers over a thousand years ago; yet the part of the painting that is the hardest to do is the sky; steeple and water; getting the right mix of color and water to create that effect.
That is why it is done on the back of the pebble board, because you won't necessarily get it right the first time. A painter needs to try many things to get the small things right; to make it look effortless.
These were some of the thoughts passing through Guinevere's mind as she sat in the small skiff taking her to the island; to a future she was not looking forward to, nor did she feel good about. She was being taken to her date; her date with the devil. She was doing it to fulfill the wishes of her husband, Joe, who had set her up for her "Confirmation Ceremony; her initiation into "The Family." This was not an activity of her initiative.
She had been through a lot lately in order to preserve her marriage to her husband. She had been attracted to him because of a number of attributes he had. When she was young, she had been attracted to the older boys in school or recently graduated that had the beginning of a beard; head scarf; tattoos; rode Harleys or crotch rockets; rice burners; or in some way seemed exciting or un-obtainable. Slowly, she had come to realize that these men were not capable of being faithful to one woman. She had dated several of the older boys on the basketball, track and football team. They were just too popular to pass up all the groupies.
Guinevere had some disappointing years while she worked on her doctorate in Psychology and Social Anthropology. She wasn't sure whether she picked these careers because of a true interest in this field or to just better understand what she was struggling through in her own personal life. Because of all her disappointments, she decided to change her approach in her personal relationships.
She ended up dating a rather mousy looking, and very religiously minded older man who had an established career in computer technology. He was not around many other people, and was less likely to be a philanderer. In fact he was rather insecure around other people.
Guinevere, on the other hand, was a different story. This was a couple who seemed to be the opposite. She had blossomed at the age of fourteen. As a freshman in high school, she had become the poster child of teen magazine; long-legged; athletic; long haired; slender hipped; with a smile that left her teachers speechless and tongue-tied like the young boys in her class.
The young cheerleader at the football games was the reason so many of the boys in town came to see the games. There were an inordinate amount of fathers too. The next day, she would roll out of bed at five in the morning to get on the bus for the cross country meets nearby. When cross country was not in season, she was either running the high hurdles or part of the distance or relay events. There were always a lot of pictures being taken with lots of long lenses.
When Guinevere got to the end of her high school career, there were a number of small colleges that offered her great scholarships for her efforts in track and cross country. She had been very popular with everybody all through college.
By the end of college, she had had enough with her disastrous romances with all the popular boys, and began dating Joe through a mere coincidence.
She had left her USB flash drive in a computer in a photography class and he had inadvertently found it. He was able to find out who she was and returned it. She had offered to buy him dinner for returning the flash drive to her. She had dated him mostly in an effort to change her dating habits. She was not that much in love with him as she was determined to change her social patterns.
Most of the men she knew were very demanding sexually. Joe was not near as insistent, and so she seemed to take the initiative out of curiosity. She had changed from wearing long loose slacks and hooded sweatshirts, to dresses; from dresses to shorter dresses; from shorter dresses to shorter dresses with sleeveless tops.
There is only so much resistance a man can put up. Once he responded, Guinevere knew how to apply the brakes. Their relationship was like watching a fourteen-year-old girl trying to learn to drive a four-wheel-drive full-size pick-up with a manual transmission. There was a lot of lurching forward and squeaking of brakes.
It didn't seem like they had been married that long before Guinevere had a fourteen-year-old of her own. By then, things had gradually changed. Guinevere had been slow to see the changes over the years. From her paying the bills, he had started to take over control of the finances. From her telling him what color tie went well with his coat to Joe telling her what to wear. The roles seemed to be shifting. Joe had his own consulting business now. He started to dress better. He had gone to Dale Carnegie and Toastmaster meetings for many years now.
Slowly, the roles changed with their difference in incomes. Joe had shifted from being a moderate income person to one of the upper 2% wage earners. Guinevere had grown accustomed to the higher income. Like the proverbial analogy; A lobster thrown into boiling water will try to escape, but a lobster thrown into cold water will sit there and get used to the change until it is boiled to death. So to was Guinevere. She would have been content to live in a hovel at the beginning of their marriage. Now, she had seen the difference in their daughter. She was blossoming in private school. She was enrolled in expensive acting, singing and dancing classes. She was doing well on the track team. She was thriving in summer camps for track and violin. Guinevere was addicted to the benefits for her fourteen year old daughter. Joe was putting away money for her college, master's and doctorate program.
Guinevere was now locked into her husband; for better or for worse. The worse was his changing beliefs in religion. Joe had gone from being a devout Methodist to a man with very intense secular beliefs. He was continuously searching the internet looking for stronger religious direction. His religious fanaticism seemed diametrically in conflict with his relationship with Guinevere.
He seemed to be more and more interested in showing her off. The older he got, the more it took for him to get sexually stimulated.
He continuously challenged her to dress more provocatively. A few months ago, it had been his birthday. She had inadvertently offered to take him wherever he wanted to go for dinner on Friday night. She said the evening was his to do whatever he wanted.
She had dressed according to his wishes. He had come home from work with a box from Dolce & Gabbana. The dark silk stockings had tight elastic lace that stopped just below her crotch. The high boots that zippered up the side were the matching texture and color as her stockings. Her button front dress had a high neck with a hem that stopped at the middle of her palm.
Guinevere was excited and reluctant at the same time as she came down the stairs to a husband she did not recognize. All of a sudden, she was the fourteen-year-old girl on her first day of school who had stepped out of her father's four-wheel drive Toyota pickup with short-short cut-off levis, logging boots and a blue oxford men's button-down collar dress shirt and Royals baseball cap to hold back her waist-length reddish-brown French braid.
.... There is more of this story ...