选自：The Artist‘s Life
概要：第一篇是毫无悬念的小说，此次选自the Artists’ life：故事的主人公喜欢绘画，文章的前半部分主要讲述了主人公的绘画风格受到了其老师的影响。文章的中部描述了主人公具体地作画。故事的最后提及了绘画需要拥有对自然的感知，主人公也意识到对于自然的改造是对于艺术的破坏。
Of course Polly had been introduced to Art as an infant. Of course the local school provided her—indiscriminately, as it did all children—with paint and clay and crayons, and she had made, as all children make, representations of her home and family—triangular-shaped father and mother holding hands, box-shaped brother in outsized shorts standing apart—as well as of daisies in a vase, and even a lopsided teacup or two, each of them intensely satisfying for a day or two, then desperately unsatisfying thereafter.
But what Miss Abigail at the camp introduced her to was Real Art: in her whispery, bubbly, disquieting voice she had urged them to 'paint your dreams—show me what you dreamed last night'. She had spaced the words, leaving great gaps for them to fill, and then sighed a replete sigh, as one might when overcome by swirls of incense or opium, when Polly presented a particularly lurid or mysterious painting—headless, shrouded figures in shades of purple appearing on the surface of a lake with large, many-pointed stars shining down on them out of a streaky sky, or purple pigeons swooping down out of a pink sky to light upon lilac roofs (Polly was very attached to the colour purple, and perhaps it was only a coincidence but that was the colour that dominated Miss Abigail's tie-dyed shifts too). For the sake of that narrowing of green cat's eyes, that slow exhalation of breath that spoke such volumes, and simply for the sake of staying close to that enchantingly incense-scented young woman with her flowing red hair and flowing purple dresses, Polly dedicated the summer to paint, letting others canoe, shoot arrows, roast marshmallows or run around working up a sweat like the damned and the demented.
She came home reluctantly, dazed into an uncharacteristic silence, with her paintings rolled up into an impressively long roll—Miss Abigail had insisted she always use large sheets of thick paper for her art. The family had been faintly surprised by what she spread out on the dining table for them; they turned to her with quizzical looks and remarks like 'Very nice, dear,' and 'Now what is that supposed to be?' making her roll them up again in offended exasperation, and carry them up to the attic where she spread them out along with all her painting equipment. She was determined to find herself a tie-dyed skirt, wear her hair loose, not in tight painful pigtails any more, and spend the rest of the summer drawing long strokes of purple and lilac paint across sheets of paper, humming the melancholy tunes Miss Abigail had hummed at the camp. 'And then my lover,' she moaned under her breath, 'left me a-lone...'
Unfortunately it was very, very hot under the attic roof, and in that thrumming heat of late August she would find her head spinning after a while. So much so that she was compelled to stretch out on a sheet of canvas and fall into a kind of stupor, struggling to keep her eyes open. Spiders descended from the rafters and spun their wavering webs, or dangled like aerial acrobats over her head. Seeing one unroll its lifeline and drop, cautiously and investigatively, closer and closer to the nest of her hair, she swatted at it, and upset a mug of water over a painting of a volcano spewing blood-red and orange paint. The water and paint seeped through several layers of paper, staining not only one but several other paintings as well.
That was when she descended the stairs, arms crossed over her chest, chin sunk, looking down at her bare feet, oppressed by the burden of being an artist. 'What's the matter, Polly?' her mother asked, 'got a headache?' and her brother jumped out from behind a door, with a 'Yar-boo!' that made her drop her arms, jerk up her head, then stick out her tongue and scream 'You—pig!' or was it, her mother wondered, aghast, 'You— pigs?'
It was then that the maple's drooping August skirts and the rotting rubber tyre hanging from its branch became the only option for her during, the remaining days of summer. It was then that she discovered she could sail through the green leaves and the yellow air and be the artist without having to go through the sticky manoeuvres required by actual painting. Truth be told, she had no distinct memory of any of Miss Abigail's paintings, only of her loose hair, the long skirts, the whispering voice. She became convinced that art was not so much a matter of painting as of being an artist. Her eyes blurred, seeing not the dusty leaves or the scolding squirrels, the grass with its sandy or weedy patches giving it an undesirable patchwork effect, or her brother's face with its ginger freckles leering at her through the bean vines that sagged off the garage roof, but great watery sunsets, wild frenzies of blossoming plants, suns colliding with stars, wisps of carelessly cavorting hair, and 'Paint what-e-ever you drream,' she sang to herself, stubbing one toe into the dirt and making the tyre swing upwards.
Unfortunately, the old heavy circle of ridged rubber could not be made to swoop upwards. At best, it dangled in its incurably pedestrian way, refusing to. lift her into the higher realms where she wished to go. Those unpredictable roseate dreams were cruelly limited, encroached upon by the undeniable reality of the house, yard, suburb—enemies, all, of Art.