pentimento – noun
This time I have a mysterious story using this word. Let me know what you think.
Natalie found a beautiful painting at a garage sale. She did not recognize the artist’s name but she fell in love with the painting none the less. The brushstrokes were exquisite and defined.
For $10, she had a steal of a find on her hands.
At home, Natalie found the perfect spot to hang her painting of the light in the woods; right across from her favorite reading chair in the living room. It was her talisman and muse.
Quite often, vivid dreams would occur at night after spending an evening gazing at the painting. These dreams were magic to her and held promise of the wonderful life she would soon be having. Natalie reveled in these dreams.
On Christmas Eve, she held a party for her friends at her home. Several of her friends had seen the painting before on one of the many occasions they had been to her place but this night was different. The painting took on a whole new aura.
“Hey Nat,” her friend Santo called above the music. “Your forest painting seems to have a glow about it tonight. Did you do something to it special for Christmas?”
Natalie squinted her eyebrows. She walked over to Santo who was standing directly in front of her painting, staring at it.
“Um, no Santo,” she replied. “Same old cheap painting that I love.”
“Hmm. Must be the magic of the night then. I just do not remember there being glitter in the bottom corner of the painting. I thought for sure you sprinkled it there for the season,” Santo explained.
Natalie looked over her painting. sure enough, Santo was correct; there was glitter stuck to the bottom right corner of the painting. She reached forward to brush it off but when she did, her fingernail caught the chunk of glitter, tearing it away.
“OHHHH'” she gasped.
“I guess I will have to fix this,” she said calming down. She tried to smooth the corner of the painting but as she did, she noticed where she scraped off paint, there was already different paint there.
Santo watched her intensely. “Nat, you have a pentimento there.”
“A what?” Natalie asked.
“There is another painting underneath this one of your beloved forest of light. Someone painted over a different painting.”
“Oh,” Natalie nodded her head.
Then her eyes lit up. “Famous artists’ work have been discovered under such paintings as this.”
“This is true Nat. What are you going to do?” Santo asked.
“I am not sure. The forest of light painting has brought me such joy and peaceful sleep that I do not want to destroy it just because there is a minute chance a famous artist’s work is under it. The painting under is is probably one the current artist did not like and painted over. I will really have to think about this.” Natalie said.
“Good idea. Your forest of light is a feel good painting. Let it keep you feeling good.” Santo advised.
“You may be right Santo. I see some of my guest are leaving. I need to say good-bye. We can talk later.” Natalie said rushing off to her exiting guests.
Santo studied the small corner section that Natalie had scratched off. The color below was a deep brownish almost dried blood color. He shivered. he always preferred cheery colors and greens and blues. Deep muddled colors and black were never his favorites even though they do have their place in art. As he studied it, sadness crept over him, a deep, unknowing sadness, like he would never see joy again.
Suddenly, Natalie was by his side again.
‘Santo, Santo, earth to Santo,” Natalie was saying.
Santo snapped out of it.
“Natalie, please just add a few brushstrokes over this corner. Do not look into what the painting is below. Your forest of light is beautiful and joyous. Keep it that way. you really do need to paint over the corner you scratched off though.” Santo said, his eyes darting to the painting as he spoke. He fidgeted with his his hands as he spoke.
Natalie was taken aback. Santo never used her full first name. “Okay Santo. You don’t have to weird out on me. I love this painting but I will have to wait until the twenty-sixth to get the proper paints to fix it. None of the stores are open on Christmas Day.” Natalie said.
“That is good. The sooner the better. Trust me please.” he rushed on.
“I understand Santo. How about I pick you up the day after tomorrow at ten a.m. and we pick out the paint together?” Natalie offered.
“Okay. I have to go now. Midnight mass with my family you know.” Santo said, rushing to leave. “I will see you then.”
Natalie smiled. That was weird, she thought.
The rest of her guests were ready to leave so she bid them a good night and a Merry Christmas.
Joyful dreams were not to be had for Natalie that night though.