An Art Lesson

In which there is painting


Tower Garden

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The garden at the top of the nobles’ tower is a wilder and less formal garden than the queen’s garden below. Mountain-hardy wildflowers such as columbine and aster are grouped in attractive clusters, growing in large planters of varying heights, and a large bank of lavender thrives on the west side of the tower, out of the shade of the solarium to the southeast. There is a small raised pool in the center of the garden, full of enormous orange-mottled carp grown fat and slow and tame with daily feeding.

A circular stairway winds around the exterior of the pool, leading down into the tower, and a break in the crenellated wall on the northwest side leads to the queen’s garden. Standing at the east wall, one can see down into the inner ward, and the curve of the wall on the west side from south to north overlooks the castle grounds below. The mountains of Archenland rise over the castle to the immediate north, the range stretching away into the west. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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You can go: Queen’s Garden <NE>, Queen’s Solarium <SE>, Nobles’ Quarters <D>

Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery).

Haft stands next to a bed of irises conversing with one of the gardeners.

Avery comes up the stairs, followed by a few servants. She directs them with a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to set up an easel near the wall. Once they finish, they bow and she sets her half-finished painting on the easel, wiping off any dust or dirt that might have gathered. She tilts her head to look at the painting and then sees Haft standing some distance away, but she doesn’t interrupt his conversation.

Haft wraps up his conversation.  “Anyway, she was real keen on them, and it turned out my niece had a lily name, to, so it was perfect.  Thanks again for the help.”

The other man nods and returns to his gardening, and Haft turns to leave, noticing Lady Avery as he does.  Ho bows.
Avery bows her head when Haft notices her. “Good day, Haft.”

Haft turns to inspect the painting.  “Very nice work.”

Avery squints her eyes at the painting. “Thank you. I still have a lot to accomplish, but the colors are blending nicely.”

Haft says, “Seem to be.  Though I really don’t know much about art.  I just know that something either looks like a thing or it doesn’t…and…I don’t know, I guess if the lines are…nice?…steady?…then that’s good too?  Like the carvings on all the doors.””

Avery grins. She opens a wooden box and prepares some paint. “It just takes practice. Here,” she hands him the brush. “Try it.”

Haft blinks in surprise.  “I…would prefer not to wreck your painting.  Is there something else I might try it on?”

Avery shakes her head. “I’ve only brought up the one canvas.” She dips the brush in a light blue paint. “Try a lighter color?”

Haft says, “Uh…maybe somewhere you can paint over later?” He touches the brush to a corner of the sky, but just leaves a blob behind.”

Avery steps back and watches. ” Perfect. Now, just smooth it out.”

Haft pulls the brush across the canvas in one direction, then the other.

Avery steps forward and points to the canvas. “See these strokes? They’re not as bold as the other ones, which just means you need a bit more paint. In my opinion, it’s always better to have more.”

Haft says, “Oh.  I’d have thought you’d want to…I don’t know, add a little at a time, in case you made mistakes…but I see what you mean.  They don’t look very steady.”

Avery smiles. “Well, the sky is a big portion of the painting, so right now more is better. But when you’re adding detail or painting smaller things, then you want to be more careful.”

Haft nods.  “I see,” he says, passing the brush back.

Avery takes it back with a nod. “I suppose every painter is different. We all have our ways of doing things.” She smiles. “But if that was your first time painting, you did excellent.”

Haft smiles.  “Too kind by far, Lady Avery.”

Avery shrugs one shoulder. “Well, I’m just happy that my painting is mostly salvageable.” She glances at him, a playful glint in her eyes. “Otherwise, it would have become /your/ painting.”

Haft’s lips twitch.  “Not sure the fellows in the barrack would have appreciated it much if I’d finished it.  Probably would have ended up looking like rock in a pond rather than mountains.”

Avery tilts her head. “A rock in a pond…I can see that, I suppose.”

Haft says, “Nah, definitely looks like the mountains.  The pass to Narnia would be…just below there, I guess.”

Avery points at the painting. “Here?” She looks up at the actual mountain range. “Hmm.”

Haft says, “Yeah.  We came down that way to the battle.”

Avery begins to paint the sky again. “What a relief that that is all over…”

Haft says, “Yes.  Hopefully for good and all.”

Avery nods. “Yes.” She gestures towards the gardener. “Do you have suggestions for the garden or is he a friend?”

Haft says, “What?  Oh.  No, I was just thanking him.  He helped me with some bulbs from the garden when I went to visit my sister recently.”

Avery ahhs quietly. “Spring flowers are always a welcome sight to any woman.”

Haft says, “Yeah.  She seemed pleased.  Well, I won’t delay your painting any more my lady.  Better let you get on with repairing the damage I’ve done.”

Avery smiles, nodding. “Thank you, Haft. Good day.”

Haft bows again and departs the garden.

Avery smiles, nodding. “Thank you, Haft. Good day.”

Haft bows again and departs the garden.

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