In Memory of Mac -
Long-time supporter, friend of the Garden, and the best reader an author could have hoped for!'Nuff said.
The paint flowed smoothly, spread by broad fluid strokes that suggested both depth and texture to the draped cloth. The tightly stretched canvas accepted the pigments as a lover embracing his beloved, the two joining in union creating a more perfect whole.
Before the artist was Jesus. The tortured man was kneeling beneath the weight of the heavy wooden cross where he had fallen in the streets of Jerusalem. He was looking upward, imploring someone... anyone... to help. It was the moment before Simon of Cyrenea would lift his burden and carry it for a ways, thus assuring himself a place in the history of man as well as the eternal favor of the Almighty.
Of course, any artist other than the one wielding the brush would have noticed the flaw in the tableau immediately: the real Jesus had possessed no artificial leg.
The model had the long dark hair and rugged, handsome, chiseled features that have always been the traditional look given by artists to represent the Prince of Peace. His shoulders were strong and well-muscled under the torn cloak in which he was clad. His bent left leg supported his weight, the foot extended behind him in its single sandal. His right leg was bent as well, the mechanical knee making a better than ninety degree angle. The artificial foot, anatomically correct in all details was bare against the seamless paper, making the bright yellow of the metal pylon almost absurd. The bucket that encased the remains of his right leg was clearly visible, including the release button that he would use later in the day to free his stump from its Fiberglas bondage.
This was not, of course, what the acrylics and linen before the artist depicted. Not only was the man whole and robust, but he was amid a throng of strangers, most jeering, his image being immortalized in one of the familiar series of paintings known as "The Stations of the Cross." The artist knew anatomy, and had no trouble replacing on canvas what had been torn away in reality.
The model dropped the papier-mâché cross, letting it land with a soft, airy thump. He shifted his weight a bit for better leverage and stood up. "Can I see?" he asked, walking smoothly toward the place on the floor where the artwork lay.
"Sure," Tommy answered. He was not shy about people seeing his work before he declared it 'finished.' Sometimes an off-hand comment would be the spark for further inspiration. He rolled both his shoulders forward until the twin eight inch stumps of his arms just met.
"I don't see how you do it," Bob said with a shake of the head and a smile.
"Paint!" he answered. "You paint one hell of a picture for a guy with no hands!"
Tommy smiled crookedly. "Well, you're not a bad Jesus for a boy with one leg either," he countered good-naturedly.