Worth it

The festival was the last event of the summer, and once it was done and the bags and boxes of art stuff (mostly) crammed back into place, I started the last painting of the year. Trawling through my image bank, photos I took four or five years ago on a Spring visit to the Eden Project caught my eye – some pink and green tulips of a variety called ‘Artist’, I guess because the colours of the flowers are in broken streaks that look like brush strokes.
When the painting was about half done, I went to see an old friend and she had just had a room painted a soft green that went beautifully with the colours I was using. I was trying to get it finished in time for her birthday, and before her next round of treatment started; but as usual it took longer than I expected, and in the end I was bundling it into packing plastic two weeks late, and with the paint only just dry.
The day it arrived she emailed me to say that she loved it, and that it had arrived at just the right time to cheer her up on a particularly low day.
No money changed hands. No reviews were written, no contests won. It’s unlikely that more than a few dozen people will see the picture itself, although maybe a few more will see the hasty photo online. In a couple of years she might redecorate in lilac or something, find it clashes horribly and take it down. But when I called her she told me that she was going to hang it on that fresh green wall where she could see it whenever she came into the room, so that there is a place in her house that is always Spring.
That feels like success to me.

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