Painting Pictures features eight stories of discovery, betrayal, and passion. The stories depict the emotional turmoil that results from decisions: a little girl who migrates to Canada on a hot August day is flabbergasted to discover there’s no snow; a graphic designer leaves her husband each morning to meet her lover; an inconsolable heartbreak leads a woman to the brink of sanity as she desperately wanders city streets seeking answers in dark places; a young woman gives a touching eulogy to the woman who raised her; a wife is torn between her love for her husband and his brother; a college graduate moves across the country to keep a secret and recover from the lover who abandoned her, only to meet him again; a young woman experiences the joy of first love, its passionate awakening, and the moment when it’s questioned; and three women bond while shopping for dresses for their fictional weddings.In these stories, set in Canada and the Caribbean, the day-to-day incidents set the stage for events that impact and change lives.
“That was why one night, at an hour when the moon snooze because no one was awed by its glow, I looked outside. For some time I thought of venturing into dark streets but was fearful that shadows would overwhelm me. I brushed aside my temptations and finally stepped into the night.”
Heavily involved in interpersonal relationships you get to see how life’s hardships can manifest themselves in their every day occupations and artistic outlets. Picasso had his Blue Period which was distinguished by his depiction of drunks, family tragedies, the hopeless, and even very own self-portraits during his bout with depression and sadness. In time Picasso had a personal revelation which introduced the Rose Period to the world that highlighted a time for optimism through the utilization of brighter colours to express warmth and life. There are still signs of resignation during this period, but in certain times resignation is appropriate as long as it’s not shielding inner sorrow.
This book covered quite a few emotional events such as:
- how found love’s transformation into unrequited love,
- the inner strength it takes to deny love in order to avoid betraying the one’s you love,
- the patience needed on your journey from self-loathing to self-sufficiency, and
- how people marry for the tradition and status and not the sanctity.
The book also depicts how the characters in the stories reacted to them:
- from a few characters own wall of prized paintings and the solace they bring,
- an emotional representation found through wardrobe and hiding the trauma it caused,
- a poem to get you through the toughest of times,
- the beauty and new found fun and friendships that mother nature can bring, and
- that true friendships can conquer all.
This book demonstrates the effect that everyday events can have on your moods and how you can take advantage and be productive with them to protect from the burden that life may cause. One important theme was how art has the ability to immortalize a person when feeling that they are on the cusp of obscurity.
I liked the stories in this anthology, but I can’t get past the lack of emotional variation between them. For me these stories could have been told in a singular familial setting with one full-length novel that would have been incredibly multi-layered. As a collection it wasn’t as impactful for me because the author stays within a safe zone. I understand the temptation to remain within the thematic boundary between stories but I felt a few risks would have achieved a better result complete with intense contemplation. I must say the writing is good and found the author to have more of an affinity for the brighter side of the colour spectrum which may indicate her disposition at the time of getting these stories together or the attitude she was trying to convey. One of my favourite moments in the whole book was the exchange between Nicole and Powell in the story Feel-Good Thing. I felt like I was at a high stakes poker table and Powell put all his chips in the centre of the table and Nicole called his bluff. That passage was awesome and the pride that I had for Nicole was very real. The author’s narrative was vivid and conversational and put you under the warm Caribbean sun with her use of character dialogue and her descriptions of native fauna while differentiating that with what was encountered in Canada. It was also nice for the reader to have some sort of artistic licence by giving us the ability to connect some of the dots from the information revealed in the story and form our own interpretation of the various relationships. Don’t accept dithering in life, always stay desirous of what life can bring. You can’t escape true love, you can only hope to contain it, because in the end love has few rules.
“Our relationship was an eternal flame that would flicker but never burn out. Despite the strength of our bond, I kept my accidental meeting with Shayne to myself. He was locked inside a box, and I believed that this was a secret that should be kept closed; there wasn’t a need to pry open that rusted lock.”
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