Painting is Happiness

—by Anna on May 20, 2013—

This was a writing assignment I had to do for my literature teacher. I wanted to share it and put on the blog. So, here it is!

Chara felt her heart pounding. She was going to show everyone she was a great artist even if she was a girl. Chara carefully dipped her brush in the paint. She took a deep breath and…

Twelve year old Chara was putting the last touches on her drawing in her father's workshop. She smiled to herself. Her father, Petra, had been teaching her art since she was old enough to hold a paint brush. Chara was enjoying this moment when her mother, Petal, shrieked, "Chara! Come help me with your brother RIGHT NOW!"

"Coming, Mother," answered Chara.

Inside the kitchen, Chara's mother was furiously stirring a pot of soup. Chara's older brother, Maximus, lay on the floor crying quietly. Chara knelt down and brushed his cheek with her finger. Her brother had been born with a weak mind. It was tough living with him sometimes, but Chara loved Maximus just the same. His crying eventually subsided, and he smiled at Chara. She smiled back, and he giggled.

Chara started to talk to Maximus about her drawing and how it was almost finished when her mother interrupted, "In my opinion," snapped Petal, "girls shouldn't learn trade." Chara frowned at this. What did it matter if she was a girl? She could paint just as well as any boy, maybe even better!

Suddenly the front door swung open and a tall, handsome man walked in. "Father," shouted Chara. She ran up to him and gave him a big hug. Maximus tried to walk, but stumbled and fell. He started to cry again. His father walked over to him and bent down and hugged his son.

"How is the Emperor's mural coming, Father?" asked Chara.

"It's almost complete, but I'm going back tonight to finish. It has to be done by tomorrow," answered Petra.

"Can I show you my drawing?" asked Chara.

"After you eat your dinner," barked her mother.

When dinner was over, Chara proudly displayed her painting.  Petra looked over the painting with a trained eye. After a couple of silent moments he exclaimed, "This is your best work yet!" He smiled at his sweet daughter and asked, "Chara, would you like to come with me to see the mural?"

Chara nodded eagerly. The twosome head off to the Emperor's palace talking about this and that. When they reached the castle, Chara thought, I've passed by this place so many times, but still catches my breath. The palace was studded with stones that shimmered like diamonds in the sun's rays. The domed top was coated in gold. Windows dotted the marble walls. The gate doors swung open on silent hinges. In the front court, colorful flowers in full bloom speckled the green grass. Huge noble trees loomed above providing shade. The walkway was paved smooth and a magnificent front door stood tall and proud.  Petra went around the side of the building, stepped up to a door, and knocked. A couple of moments later, a servant opened the door.

"Hello, sir," sniffed the servant. "May I help you?"

"Yes," replied Petra. "I'm here to finish the Emperor's mural in the dining room."

"Right this way sir." The servant led them through a tall hall into the dining room. Chara smiled cheerfully when she entered. All four walls (expect a last bit of the fourth wall) had a beautiful mural of Roman history going by, all blended together. On one section of the hall Romulus and Remus were being taken care of by the she-wolf. On another, Aeneas was carrying Anchises out of burning Troy. The last was an unfinished picture of Emperor Augustus. He looked proud and was slightly smiling. He gazed off into the distance as if he were in deep contemplation. Chara stood in awe as she gazed at her father's work.

Petra propped a ladder onto the last wall and grabbed his art supplies. He used a piece of wood with the painting on it as a guide. After a while the light in the room started to dim, so Petra started down the ladder to get a lantern. Half way down he misplaced his footing and fell. His body hit the floor with a loud thud. Chara let out a shriek and ran over to her father.

"M-m-my back," he muttered. "It feels like fire is scampering up it." He closed his eyes tight and grimaced. Several servants rushed in and asked what happened. Chara explained, and they picked up Chara's father to take him to a doctor.

"Chara," croaked Petra, "you must finish the mural. It has to be done by tomorrow."

"But Father," protested Chara, "this mural is for the Emperor. I'm not good enough!"

"Yes, you are Chara! You can to do this!" At this the servants took Petra away to the doctor.

She fetched a lantern and returned to the mural. Chara felt her heart pounding. She was going to show everyone she was a great artist even if she was a girl. Chara carefully dipped her brush in the paint. She took a deep breath and started to paint. Her brushstrokes were gentle and graceful. She worked quickly but beautifully. Several hours went by. Her eyelids drooped, but she kept working. Finally, after a couple more hours, she finished. Chara was exhausted but very proud of her work. She stretched and yawned.

I'm done. Chara thought with a smile. But how am I going to get my father's paint supplies home?

A voice broke into her thoughts, "You did a lovely job."

She quickly turned around and was surprised by who she saw. Out of the shadows walked a man much like the last painting: Emperor Augustus. Chara gasped and quickly bowed before her ruler.

"Why are you painting instead of Petra, who are you, and what are you doing here?" asked Augustus. Chara explained everything. "Hmmm," murmured Augustus. "You probably need a way home don't you? I'll have servants carry you and your supplies in a litter."

"Thank you so much," Chara said with another bow.

When she got home, she collapsed onto her bed and fell right asleep. The next day, when she woke up, it was already lunchtime. She crawled out of bed and headed into the dining room. Laying on a couch was Petra.

"Father! Are you all right? Did anything break? Will you be able to continue to paint? How-"

"Whoa! Slow down!" said Petra half chuckling. "My back was badly injured, but the doctor said he can fix it. And yes, I will be able to continue to paint, though just not in high places." Chara laughed. She was so happy that her father was going to be okay.  "Oh!" exclaimed Petra. "I almost forgot. I have a letter for you." Chara opened it and read it out loud:


Last night, I met an extraordinary young artist. She was painting in her father's stead, and I enjoyed her work more than his. (At this, Petra grunted and muttered that Augustus had no taste while grinning at his daughter.) I would like it very much if this young lady would come to the palace and paint my library.


Chara stared dumfounded at the letter. She was to come and paint the Emperor's library? She looked at her father and he exclaimed, "Well, it looks like I can retire!"

Petra fully recovered from his injury and continued to paint whatever he could. Chara help her father support the family. Chara's fame as an artist grew until she was known all over Rome. She ended up painting all of the Emperor's rooms and several other houses. She lived a long life filled with color and her namesake: Happiness.

—Tags: Fiction