Alex Chapter 13: Painting do over

This entry is part 13 of 7 in the series Alex

At my cabin, I took a long hard look at the painting I had begun.

Two ladies in the lake. I had made a lot of progress with it: one of the reasons I was able to make money from my paintings was the speed at which I was able to make the broad strokes while still focusing on the details.

In the case of my first painting here, there were almost no details other than the small two shapes in the water.

The grass was easy to do, as was the sky and even the wooden fence in the background.

No, this painting, even though close to being completed, was not what I wanted to express as my first piece of art for this place.

I took out my sketchbook and quickly drew three different scenes.

The first was me, being taken by three men from the previous night. The men would be out of focus, but I would be clearly drawn. The room would be dark around me, leaving me as a single beacon of light, with my pale white skin contrasting with the room.

I liked the sketch and knew it would be painted soon, but it wasn’t what I was hoping to get.

The second one was the cafeteria, with all of the women I had spoken to, eaten with or just see sitting at the tables with out of focus men.

When I had begun, I had wanted to just display both genders similarly, but by the time I was there, the men were but shadows. I even added those golden things floating on the top of angel’s heads to the women, while I added tails and horns on the men.

But no, it wasn’t what I was looking for either. Oh, I would paint it, and I would get it displayed in the dining hall, but it wasn’t what I wanted for my first piece.

Instead, I had a better idea.

I first drew on my canvas, the biggest one I could find, the chapel room, as I had seen it.

One of the fun parts was that 2 of my paintings were on the walls I was showing so I was able to recreate my paintings into one of my paintings: that was a first for me!

I made sure that the painting of me, despite being small in my new canvas, would make it clear it was me being depicted, something not easy to achieve…

I focused on the background. One of the nice things with painting on canvas is that once your paint is dry, you can easily paint over it with new elements. Is it common for painters to do that? I honestly had no ideas, but I did so. Perhaps it’s part of my style or maybe it’s a trick everyone uses.

In other words, I would draw the whole unbroken room before drawing on top of it the characters from my painting.

My painting teacher when I was growing up would have a fit, but she wasn’t here now and I sold more painting for more money in a few years that she made in her entire life, so take that Mr. Hendricks.

Wait, was my boyfriend the reason I was making so much money? I mean, it’s not like he gave it all to me, I would make a small percentage of the actual sale value, and the rest would be to help him pay everything: my contribution to the expenses we had.

But what if my paintings were used as money laundering vehicles?

A drug dealer needs to launder $100,000. He buys two of my paintings with 95% dirty cash for $100,000 but declares he bought it for $5,000. He then uses the real receipt to resell it to someone else for $100,000 or so, this time, with clean money.

Oh shit, no need to find the new buyer himself! My boyfriend could find the buyer at 100,000, but then, set the drug dealer as the intermediate.

No, wait, was it worst? Was my whole career a lie except for this place?

Imagine that the first criminal bought one of my paintings for $5,000, and quickly sold it for $10,000 at an auction house, possibly even paying for it himself.

That sets me up as a $10k artist. If he sells a few of my paintings like this, buying them, he can raise my profile so that my paintings are renowned to rise in value over time. After a year, I might be worth $40k per painting and so on.

I could gain a reputation as a profitable artist to invest in so that normal investors become interested and begin sustaining the system themselves.

No, what if I’ve got it all wrong. What if it was my boyfriend who created the initial rise in my value, so to attract criminals to launder their money?

Yeah, with the little I knew, I wouldn’t get very far. I might even be worth every penny I ever sold and my boyfriend had nothing to do with my success other than supporting me.

Ok, time to think about other things. This place, however wicked and weird and twisted it was, seemed honest and my ex-boyfriend probably wasn’t.

The base of my painting was already done by the time the supper bell rang. I was in the groove and decided not to stop: I had eaten more than I usually did for lunch and I was pretty sure that there would be scraps left in an hour or two.

Instead, I attacked the main piece, the tricky part of the painting.

It was three, nude of course, women, kneeling in front of the painting of my orgy.

We could only see them from the back, but there was no mistake possible: it was a painting of Karina (her long black hair gave her away), Talia (her red-head was a dead-giveaway) and me (the similar hair from the painting was the hint.

We were, all of us, kneeling in front of the painting, with our heads raised as if looking up (though it was hard to tell from the back), and Karina, who was in the middle, was holding both of our hands, raised above our heads as if imploring the Goddess.

My left hand (I was on the left), was also raised, but we could see that Talia was holding a closed fist with her right hand which was laying by her side and resting on the floor.

If asked, I would explain it’s because she is praying to become a Prophetess while both Karina and I are thanking the goddess for our good fortune of being one.

When I stopped, the sun was low over the horizon and I almost ran toward the dining room. In the fridge, I found more pork meat, vegetables and fruits, and I ate a plateful as fast as possible, not even bothering to heat it up.

I simply left the plate on the counter and rushed to the chapel.

I saw several men converging on it so this would promise to be a very busy night.

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