A thickened scent of dampness is what establishes the atmosphere here, sourced from damp, dewy, and dank surroundings. Any being that moves within this climate is met by the rock-like presence of heat. Sticky is the air, a syrupy embrace from the enclosing flora that leaves skin tacky to the touch. A glistening dewdrop balances precariously on the tip of an olive-coloured frond before gravity takes control, and it tumbles to the soft, moss-covered terrain below. Feeble leaflets reach out to those who pass by, like long, chartreuse fingers. He sits, perched in the branches of one of the gentle giants who reside here. Within bony hands, he holds his latest creation. Sharp eyes peer over thin, bronze frames, with crescent-cut lenses. His brush-strokes are delicate and small, touching up the red tip of his toucan’s beak with an adept precision. Once finished, the bird is free to leave, disappearing in a flurry of white and black feathers.
Fur ripples over a well-oiled machine. Muscles and tendons flex and bend with the leisurely pace of large paws. Under the steady weight of a robust body, the pea-shaded moss dips, giving a suggestive impression of quicksand. A gentle sigh breaks the lull in activity, pink nostrils flaring under a shimmering sheen of sweat. A pair of amber eyes darts from one side to the other, catching on attentively to any small movement. Apricot-coloured ears twitch and flutter as colourful dancers above scream and shout with delight, twirling their vibrant and vivid plumes. The Artist’s watchful eyes follow this large cat’s path, nibbling on a bitten-down thumb nail, . Charcoal stripes, painted by the Artist with crude brush strokes, keep the tangerine beast hidden in the undergrowth. These were not intentional – the Artist intended for this feline to have spots, but due to the blazing sun above his paints melted and ran, leaving jagged, uneven streaks of ink upon its luxurious pumpkin fur.
Above the head of the cantaloupe-coloured creature climbs the Artist’s second invention. A long, slender form wraps around the trunk of one of the many immovable, timber veterans. The Artist has coloured this reptile the tint of a lemon, with a dark tongue darting out to taste the world around it. Dull, beady eyes glint as the light cast through the branches above catches them. This animal continues to climb, it’s sturdy body tightening and coiling to give aid, due to its lack of limbs. The Artist’s thin lips curl into a mischievous grin, adjusting his worn, leather satchel with colour-stained hands. His creations return to him occasionally, as He is who brings colour and light to this universe. Wiping sticky hands upon the frayed cotton of his tunic, he then reaches for the reptile with outstretched fingers. His paints have the habit of melting off in this heat, so it is a common occurrence to perform touch-ups. Sunlight streams down through the thick brush overhead, frail gold threads catching upon small fibres in the air. It is under this gentle glow that the Artist works. Slender bristles, controlled by deft fingers, work the pigment into the smooth skin of the creation he holds. When done, he sits back and watches saffron scales shift in the overbearing sunlight, the snake continuing its journey towards the sapphire skies above.
One of the Artist’s favourite past-times was painting the sky. He spent endless amounts of time working on this particular masterpiece, his stiffened and worn joints creaking with the effort required to reach the very corners of this grand canvas. His colour choices would vary and change with the wind. Soft, dove greys on days where he was distressed. Dark, granite thunderstorms would wreak havoc if he were ever enraged, but above all, he would use a bright, heavenly shade of cerulean to show joy. He would climb to the top of the very tallest tree in his jungle, calloused fingers and toes hooking into tiny crevices in the apparent smoothness of the tree’s bark. At the summit, he could contemplate the Universe. Although misty eyes and foggy glasses were a hindrance, preventing him from ever fully knowing the beauty he had built, he could still gather the vast expanse of blues and greens that stretched into the distance. These colours swam before him, swirling into a mosaic of aquamarines and verdigris so intense that it prompted an ache behind his aged eyes. Crows-feet crease his blue-grey eyes as he watches a flock of birds, heading homeward, soaring aloft on blankets of the wind on feathers of ivory and cream. The air is fresh and thin up here, cleansing the Artist’s palette of the congealed essence of the undergrowth below. A cool breeze lifted a smile upon sun-damaged cheeks. He reached for a paintbrush and began His work.