The stallion looked at the blank canvas with an expression just as blank. The walls of his studio were unadorned, favoring the plain off white color that he had chosen for them all those years ago. Every third month the room got a fresh coat of paint to cover up the myriad of flecks that wound up there when the artist entered his more passionate throes, throes that would send droplets of paint far and wide as his passion manifested itself across the canvas.
He had several dozen different cans of paint at his disposal, and yet nothing stoked his desire for more than the blankness facing him. Even his most minimalist works were treasured in the community, but he doubted that he had enough prestige to get away with a blank canvas. Still, looking at what others had presented forth at the last museum tour made the artist cringe. How ponies could look at what had been presented and call it art baffled him. Surely there was something that he was missing.
With a sigh that shattered the silence, the stallion laid down the paintbrush he had been holding, opting to take a step back from his canvas before attempting to work his magic once more. The wooden floor creaked nicely beneath his hooves, the ever so slight give in the wood reminding the artist just how much he paced, walked, and pounded on the floor in this room. He was a restless artist, always flitting from one style to another, never lingering any longer than his heart desired.
He didn’t cater to the whims of the public, instead delivering what he thought was quality, and leaving it up to the community to render its judgment as they would. It had paid off in dividends after he was discovered for his rendition of an apple orchard. The darker undertones were said to have detracted from the painting, but the artist didn’t give a damn about that. He both loved and hated the picture, and what it portrayed. He was a walking manifestation of the fact that an artist is never pleased with their work.
But, produce an artist must to survive, and so produce he did. Each work of art produced was given mere moments to dry and mature before it was sent off to be seen by the larger public, and it was on this basis that the stallion based his works. Each piece helped the next along. But some critics focused on single aspects of the works, focusing on a single small aspect, or mistake, forsaking the rest for the mistake. Almost literally missing the forest for the trees. A good work of art will have some mistakes, some small inconsistencies that just happen.
Other artists, some fairly well known, isolate themselves from the community, to an extent, and choose to work out several connected works of art before unveiling them all in a single grand swoop. This method works for some artists, but for our intrepid painter, this method is unsatisfying. The desire to hear from those who enjoy his work is too strong to resist.
A gentle creaking noise shatters our creator’s reverie causing him to turn towards the noise. The gentle sound of hooves on the wooden floor signals the entrance of the other pony living there. The creaks of the floor are so familiar that the artist can’t keep the small smile from his features.
“Still nothing, my love?” Her voice had the same titillating tone to it that the artist had fallen in love with all those months ago. “You really should get out some more. Inspiration has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.” The artist gave a wan smile before he turned back to the blank canvas.
“Have you ever seen something more beautiful? Save for you, of course.” The mare offered up a small laugh at the artists stumble. She had already heard this question before, and she answered as she always had, knowing that the stallion loved to answer this question himself. “It represents possibility. There are, quite literally, infinite possibilities locked within this section of cloth and wood. All it takes is a single brush stroke to start the next masterpiece, a single alteration of the blank slate, and it’s closer to unlocking yet another piece of art. Nopony has an excuse for not creating something at least once in their life. Be it a painting, a tale of misery and woe, or a simple piece of artfully carved wood.”
“Art isn't something that can be forced, love.” The artist looked over his shoulder for just a moment, before he returned his gaze once more to the cans of paint sitting on the small table. A hoof gently brushed against a few labels, the flecks of dried pant peeling off at his touch.
“I know that, but it’s also not something that can be put on hold forever. When you find the drive to create, don’t stifle it. It can be something as small as a single phrase, or it can be something as grand as a revolution. No matter the source it comes from, inspiration shouldn’t be cast aside.” The artist grabbed one of the cans of paint, and with practiced ease, he popped off the lid, admiring the slight sheen of the paint still in the can. “And this.” The artist dipped a hoof into the paint, allowing it to drip from his hoof back into the can. “The material from which my art emerges. My mind acts as the driving force for the majesty of my work, but this. This is the medium through which I display my vision.”
The artist rubs the still wet hoof along his chest, creating a smear of paint through his coat. He looks back at the blank canvas, and his eyes light up once again, finding, at last, the inspiration he seeks. Minutes turn to hours, and hours into days. At long last, the stallion steps back from his work, the paint still wet in places, but the image staring back at him is unmistakable. The clear lines and defined shades make the work one of his best yet. Still, despite its clarity, something is missing.
Several soft voices sound from outside the room, and the artist can’t keep the smile from his face as he dashes over to the door, eager to show his latest work. The sounds of the creaking wood as his observers enter is muffled slightly, by the sound of his own hooves contacting the floor. His guests all looked at the piece of work with wonder written plainly on their faces. But none of them looked at him, only his work of art.
A voice different from the others pierced through the veil, shattering the illusion before the artists eyes. The painting stayed, but the six mares that were in the room mere moments ago all vanished, replaced only by the six canvases that rested against the wall, each one waiting for a painting that will never be painted. A deep sigh escapes the stallion, and he turns to face the source of the voice. The tall, pure white coated, mare stands in the doorway, a look of sadness in her eyes. “Come, my little pony. It’s been three months since they passed. You can’t just stay here and cry for them all the time. You need to go out and experience the world. It’s what they would’ve wanted.”
The stallion cast a last look at the picture he painted, a sense of peace passing over him. “Princess, I’d like this one to go on the monument. If you’d like, that is.”
“I’m certain that can be arranged, Blank Canvas. Now, let’s go out and enjoy the day.”
Link, in case the video doesn't work.