The cool covering was torn from me and I shivered against my timber frame, feeling naked and exposed, wondering was what to happen to me, what was I to become? I had heard the other canvases rustling back in the store before they left. One by one we were picked, sometimes familiar faces came to browse us, but we never saw the canvases again.
A pair of bright blue eyes surveyed me critically, set against a wrinkled face that seemed to be looking at me as if there was something wrong. The staple in my top left corner wriggled slightly and the eyes glared at it instantly.
“Come loose have you.” A soft voice murmured, it had an amused tone to it. I was picked up and turned around quickly so that I could feel the air as it passed over me and I almost shivered again. I could not see the blue eyes, but I could feel hands touching me. A soft warmth flooded me at the gentle but seemingly knowing touch. And then I was turned back to face … what?
I had never seen anything like this before, hard as it had been to see behind the clear plastic wrapping in the store, but I knew tubes of paint and brushes. Here everything seemed a jumbled mess. Jars of liquid with brushes sticking out at angles, pieces of newspaper and cardboard, and tubes, so many tubes of different colours.
The blue eyes were back, once more staring at me, surveying me critically. They moved and a soft hum filled the air, a musical tune. A brush appeared, bristles pointed towards me. I felt myself shivering once more. What if my threads didn’t hold the paint properly? What if I was crooked in the frame? What if …
And then, I almost screamed. The brushes were touching me. Coldness flooded me. Coldness and … something else. It tickled. The brush bristles were tickling me. I tried very hard to sit still. This was what I was made for, designed for. But oh it tickled.
The artist moved away and I saw a different brush, I guessed it was a brush. This one did not have bristles. It was of some strange colour and dotted all over with holes. It came closer and closer and then it brushed up against me in some sort of swiping motion and was gone again.
Colour after colour was laid upon me. I began to get used to it. It wasn’t so bad, and even the brushes stopped tickling after a while. But I lost count of the colours used as the Artist worked. First blue, then black and white, then more blue of a different shade, and even green, purple and gold. More and more colours.
It took a long time, but as the Artist worked, the creases around their blue eyes deepened and a smile. Sometimes the artist would hum, other times they played tunes from the small transistor radio on the bench.
At long last, after what seemed forever, the Artist stretched their back and placed the brush on the table with a sigh. I was picked up once more and carried towards the window, where I could look out and see a pale frozen lake in the distance.
The glass frame of the window was turned back and, I could see my own reflection in the pane. I gasped. I was beautiful.