A Life's Work

Have you ever noticed them painting?

The newspaper seller by the station. It’s easy for him to paint in June – pale yellows and browns, the odd streak of red when the hot-shot City barrow boy flings the tenner and expects instant change but that’s the exception. Mostly people stop and chat, add their own strokes to his life’s work.

It’s now in November when the paint is lumpy, unworkable. When ice seeps slowly up from frozen feet. That’s when masterpieces are created or works abandoned, that’s when gold is beaten - toughened or broken.


The best paintings are done in private.

The autistic child’s smile for his mother, an aberration maybe, not in the script certainly, but she will paint it in her heart.

The murderer’s compassion. A thing unbelievable, unacceptable to a world whose heart is hardened by such terror. And yet if we did not know him to be a murderer, if we looked at his painting alone, we might see such beauty as only a murderer’s regret could give us – if we but knew it.

The soul discovered. Ah, such a private moment – such bliss! Words cannot describe it but painting can – if you can see, music can – if you can hear, a lover can – if you can touch.


In this world there are many, many paintings - none finished, all works in progress. But do not despair, only one matters, although the rest, if you can see them, will act as inspiration.

Which one? Which one of the six and a half billion paintings is the one, the only one?

You know.

About the author:

Chris Bleach lives in Halifax in the North of England with his wife, two children and a dog who thinks she's human. He writes about business for a living but much prefers to write about life. He has had several publications including including stories in Eclectica, 7Q, and Southern Ocean Review.