3 free calendars up for grabs....
Read our true story that Theo made up and try to work out the date of birth of the main character.
Post your answer below as a comment. Out of the correct answers three winners will be drawn out of a hat on the 14th of December and announced here in this blog.
And the winners are......
The solution was not an obvious one, and with great detective skills, we have two correct entries, both winning a 2017 calendar.
Congratulations to Bob May and Andy Marion!
The protagonist of our story represents a young Edward Hopper, an American realist painter who was born on the 22 of July 1882. Hopper derived his subject matter from his surroundings, such as restaurants, theatres, gas stations, as well as seascapes and rural landscapes. Not unlike Theo he drew his inspiration from his local environment, with strong figurative elements portraying the urban American landscape.
The Artist At Her Easel
I invited the taxi driver in for a cup of coffee. ‘Sorry Edward he replied, I have another fare waiting.’
It seemed a bit odd. On the journey he was complaining what a quiet day he was having. I asked, ‘I’m surprised, how do you know my name?’ He just smiled and pointed to the lettering stitched onto the suitcase. He carried my bags to the porch, dropped them and left rather hurriedly saying: ‘I hope you’ll last your stay.’ What on earth did he mean by that! And strangely enough he left in such a rush I didn’t have a chance to tip him.
I fumbled but I managed to open the beautiful ornate front door. I was looking forward to my vacation, time to catch up on reading and perhaps to paint some watercolours of the local scenes.
The interior was dark, but I could make out a long hall with five or six rooms branching of to the left and right. I was excited and I felt that I would enjoy myself in this holiday mansion. In the first room I could see a grand piano, the walls decorated with beautiful oil paintings. At the end of the hall was this fascinating doll’s house. I peered inside, surprised by the amount of intricate detail. It was on two levels with a balcony circling right around. The upper rooms hosted the bedrooms and the skylight window allowed the light to beam in, creating eerie shadows on the furnishings.
There was a visitor’s guest book which intrigued me, but as I was feeling tired and exhausted from the journey, I sought out the bedroom and settled for an early night.
I raised my eyebrows as I caught sight of the four poster bed. The furniture from three decades ago seemed as new, intricately mixed with contemporary designs, creating this unworldliness and timelessness, not unlike the eerie feeling I had when I first saw the doll’s house. I was too tired to ponder this and hit the sack without even unpacking.
The sound of children playing and singing outside wasn’t going to interrupt my sleep. I could also hear a small audible whisper getting louder and louder, chanting ‘For he is a jolly good fellow’. I felt uneasy and began to feel the cold. It occurred to me that this house stood alone in large grounds and goose pimples started to appear on my arms.
The temperature was certainly dropping and I tried to drown out the noise by pulling the blanket over my head. What happened next made my hair stand on end. I could feel the weight of a person sitting on the edge of the bed. I felt transfixed. I tried to scream but nothing came out. I was too scared to pull the blanket back, too scared of what I would see. I don’t know how long I was frozen like this, but eventually sleep got the better of me. I awoke, I didn’t know how long I was sleeping for. The first thing I did was move my feet and the weight was gone. What a relief, it must have been a nightmare. I felt like a silly fool.
I drew back the blankets and realized it was no dream! She was standing there in the doorway, a vision in white, a hat masking her face. ‘Edward, I’ve been waiting for you’ she said. She beckoned me to follow. I was trembling like a leaf, but I felt compelled to do so. Oddly, for the first time a feeling of calmness overcame me. No longer horrified, intrigued I needed an answer. I wanted to get to the bottom of this.
In the dark she led me through the corridor, up a flight of wooden stairs to the attic. She vanished and I presumed that she was now inside. I grabbed a dusty handle and opened the creaky door. It was dark but the huge attic window allowed the moonlight to beam in. I could see that this was a studio. I screamed as I saw a figure looking at me but felt foolish as I realized I was looking at myself in this large circular mirror. The studio was full of canvases, easels covered in cloths. My heart missed a beat as she reappeared, standing next to an easel with a huge canvas on it. The table with brushes and paints, the palette pre mixed was there..... It dawned on me this is how she left it. This crazy notion, crazy feeling explained why she was looking at the painting. It is rumoured that ghosts don’t like unfinished business. I could only guess, this poor tormented beauty, poor tormented soul, needed her masterpiece to be finished before her final journey.
I looked at the painting for the first time and I could see her house bathed in summer light. The brushes, the palette and the colours were in front of the easel on the table. Also in front of the easel was an empty chair. Obviously the artist’s empty chair, and then I understood. The lady in white was no longer to be seen. My part in this drama was to complete the painting. Was it fate that I was drawn here? I was a young art student and this was to be my first major challenge, but I felt the urge to do this. I wanted to do this. The round ornate mirror in front of me started to resonate and its smoky film began to clear. In front of my eyes the street scene appeared, showing me her home and her executing the painting from a time in the past. The house illuminated in the sun cast these warm shadows over the door and the lady in white had taken her place in a chair, and I knew if she was to get her peace, I had to finish what she had started. I can’t explain, but I could feel her innermost thoughts and I felt the need to express them outwardly through my brush strokes. I became feverish and began to mix up the colours and paint. I say I began to paint, we began to paint. A sharing of souls, she was in fact painting through me. I dropped my defences and was transported. I became obsessed with capturing her beauty, the summer light bathing her slim slender legs, leading up to her full breasts. My thoughts were out of bounds, her face forever hidden from me. The light and shadow of the house had also to be captured and we painted what seemed like an eternity.
As time went by, and as the painting came to a close, I could feel her letting go. The inevitable was happening. I felt happy and realized that she was no longer with me and no longer part of this eternal loop. I slumped into this deep sleep. I thought I would wake up next morning with no recollection of last night’s events, but this was not the case. I remembered everything and I felt better for it. The house felt differently now and I felt the warmth was back.
The rest of my holiday was uneventful and it took a backseat to what had happened with the lady in white. I packed, ready to check out and once again the guest book caught my eye. I knew I had to look inside. The first entry read, ‘I have seen her, tragic how she died, but I felt comfortable with her. ’The second entry ‘She goes about her business, the most elegant ghost I have ever encountered. This is my second visit and I will return again.’ In contrast the third entry vowed never to stay here again.
I couldn’t leave without a quick note. ‘I have also met her, a unique individual. She taught me how to see the light and how to express my innermost feelings in an outward way. Something I will treasure and adopt for the rest of my life. ‘ E. Hopper
Story by Theo Michael