Joshua observed how John put away the paint brushes. There was some ritual to the placement, the distance between them and their alignment. He didn’t see a man with OCD, but a fellow artist who had access to the secret traditions of what it actually meant to be an artist.
Joshua was seeing for the first time the actions not of an art teacher but that of an artist.
This new art teacher, brought in for the senior year levels, was an actual artist. One who had exhibited in real galleries. Who sold his paintings to complete strangers simply based on the quality and reputation?
Joshua had received his first feedback from John, but wanted more. Needed to know that this obsession he had with drawing, with colours and shapes, was something that distinguished him from others.
John wiped clean the last brush and placed it carefully next to the other brushes. “This,” he said, waving a hand over the neatly arranged battalion of brushes, “is the true making of an artist.”
Joshua looked confused. No one travels to the other side of the world to see the Mona Lisa simply because Leonardo kept his brushes neatly.
“You need rules, Joshua. This is one of those rules. One of the unbreakable rules for any artist. You can’t paint with a brush that has its bristles flaked with yesterday’s paint. It needs to be fresh. Your mind is like a brush. It needs to be cleaned of all signs of yesterday. This is a rule that can not be broken if you wish to become a genuine artist.”