She immediately squeezed acrylic paints onto a palette and started mixing the colors.
From that point on, she planned on doing an extensive retouching, faithfully following along Jinho’s critique.
‘I have to turn these in by tomorrow but… it’s worse to leave them be despite knowing how to fix them.’
Although Fei was usually adamant and wouldn’t bend her pride, today was different.
She decided to try the path a true genius has shown her.
And so, Fei worked the night editing her artworks and somehow submitted them on time.
The day after she submitted the projects, Fei’s professor called her over.
Fei, who usually left immediately after listening to the lecture, became surprised at the professor’s sudden call. Fei tried to remember if she did something wrong during the lecture or if she forgot a homework, but nothing came up.
Picking up her backpack, Fei walked over to the desk the professor was at. As Fei stood there with a nervous expression, the professor laughed and patted her.
“I didn’t call you over to scold you, so don’t be so nervous.”
“Then what is it, sir?”
“It’s about the work you submitted last time.”
“My last work?”
If it’s about her last work, it should be about the pictures Fei fixed according to Jinho’s critiques. Fei’s expression got even more darker.
‘Perhaps something went wrong…?’
Although the professor didn’t say he’ll scold her, no one knows what to expect from the mouths of artists.
Fei continued to stare at the professor with a timid expression. As if enjoying the mood, the professor lightly shook his head left and right, and finally opened his mouth.
“It’s really good.”
“Yes, I’m sorry… eh?”
“Why are you apologizing? Anyway, the works Fei Ling showed me this time were amazing enough to blow away all my doubts. Until now, you focused too much on techniques and couldn’t send your message across, or blur the topic of the work, but this time the balance was very nice. I’m thinking of showing them to other students on the next lesson as a good example of projects, so I called you over today to ask for your permission. What do you think?”
“E, even if you ask…”
“Would it be okay if I showed your works to other students as examples?”
As the professor asked again, Fei Ling’s face turned red as if embarrassed, and nodded lightly. The professor smiled once again at Fei’s answer and stood up.After which, the two parted ways with a farewell.
As soon as her classes ended, Fei Ling headed to Laurong’s bakery immediately.
When Fei opened the glass door to the bakery and entered, she saw Laurong’s laughing face as he watched the Chinese channel and giggled hysterically.
“Un? Fei? What are you doing here? Ah, don’t tell your aunt I was watching TV during work!”
“That doesn’t matter! It’s, a… eh, whose painting is this?”
“Un? Ah, that.”
Fei saw a painting hanging from a wall of the bakery, and her eyes opened round in surprise. Laurong watched Fei as if amused and slowly walked up to the painting.
“I said it before, that Jinho young man gave me a nice present so I invited him to dinner.”
“Then is this picture perhaps…?”
“Yep. It’s the painting that Jinho young man drew, no, repainted. He sure got skills. Right until it got repainted, it was a so-so picture at most.”
Fei’s eyes opened wide to the point it couldn’t open even wider.
She had seen the painting hanging in the bakery before. Of course, it was a much different painting from now.
Back then, it was a simple and unremarkable landscape painting. The color palette was so-so and the structure was ordinary; just a mediocre sort of picture. It was a kind of painting that didn’t have anything special…
‘… Is this really that painting?’
But the painting in front of her now couldn’t even be thought of as the same painting from before.
‘I could recognize it because the scenery is the same but… if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to even recognize it.’
Seeing Fei unable to take her eyes off the painting, Laurong scratched his neck and asked.
“So why did you suddenly come here? Didn’t you say you’re sick of this bakery and didn’t even walk past this place before?”
Fei, who’s been absorbed by the painting, as if she finally came to herself, lightly clapped her hands and turned to Laurong.
“Uncle, could I meet with Mr. Jinho?”
“Iiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddeeeeaaaaa~ isn’t coming uuuuuupp~, the idea!”
On top of a bed in Jinho’s basement studio.
The owner of the room, Jinho, was still shaking his head and rolling on the bed. Already, he’s been doing the same thing for three hours. Jinho’s canvas on the easel was still white.
“It’s good that I at least retouched the three paintings from before but… Hah, I just can’t think up a next piece. Really, this is annoying.”
With a bit of thought, it was an obvious problem.
Although it was true Jinho’s techniques had somehow gotten better, but it wasn’t as if his head or thought process had changed.
At first, he drew thinking if he just randomly started drawing, it’ll become something, but Jinho became crushed as colorful yet meaningless pictures came out one after another. Of course, he could put them in his portfolio if he wanted, but that didn’t satisfy him.
Jinho crawled out of the bed and one-shoted cold water from a cup.
“It’s nice how I can always drink cold water as the weather gets colder…, bullsh*t! Hah, I can’t do this. I’ll at least take a walk.”
Jinho decided to at least get out of the gloomy studio.
Because he’s been cooped up in the house since yesterday, he did miss the fresh air.
Jinho, who put on a simple outerwear, picked up his back holding pencils and sketchbook, and walked out of the door.
Jinho’s destination was Central Park, located in Manhattan.
Since he’s been alone for a long time, he began missing crowded places and decided to go out to the Central Park today. Diligently walking to the subways, Jinho blew into his hand again and again.
“If only I could hold a warm cup of coffee while I walk… nah. A cup of coffee is two pieces of bread. Get a hold of yourself, Lee Jinho.”
Muttering to himself, Jinho swiped his New York transport card, and stood on a platform.
Seeing the subway coming from afar, Jinho rejoiced. Riding the subway that usually smelled of all sort of smells wasn’t a happy experience, but on a cold day like this, forget smells, he wanted to get to somewhere warm first.
As soon as a subway labeled N stopped, Jinho squeezed himself inside.
As expected, a weird smell stabbed into his nose, but he decided to endure it since it was warm.
And as the subway began to move along the rails again, a black guy holding a guitar stood in the center of the subway car Jinho was in.
“Hello, my fellow neighbors of New York. I, who dreamt of music ever since I was young…”
It was an obvious story.
When riding on a subway, musicians who rode along would sing or play a song with their instruments from time to time and ask for people’s money. Although soliciting was illegal, now it has permanently became a part of New York subway’s scenery. Jinho, who has now lived in New York for quite some time, at first watched these scenes with much interest and gave what meager money he had several times.
The black guy gave a quick introduction and slowly began to play.
Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven sounded along with the guy’s hands.
Jinho leaned against the subway’s door, lightly closed his eyes, and immersed himself in the music.
Because being artistically sensitive wasn’t limited to traditional art, he often got drunk on music like now.
‘Hm, he’s good… eh?’
Jinho suddenly coughed and opened his eyes.
Jinho’s face with his eyes open were colored with confusion.
He turned his head back and forth and looked at the black musician who was still intensely playing his music.
Following the musician who calmly played the notes and sang the lyrics, Jinho nodded as if natural. And soon, Jinho, who slowly closed his eyes again, heard the song’s highlight.
Guitar fingerings that slowly picked up the pace, and the vocal that matched it.
Then, something matched that moment and sent an avant-garde sensation through Jinho’s head, creating an image.
‘Wha, what is it this time?!’
At the alien sensation and the image that followed, Jinho shuddered his body.
It was as if the song was drawing the picture in his head.
The black musician he saw appeared in Jinho’s closed eyes, and around him, the gradually spreading sound turned into a visual image, embroidering the sketchbook in Jinho’s mind. Brilliantly, and freely. Watching the dance of hues that ever-flowed and changed, Jinho felt his breath caught away.
‘I, I have to draw this. No, at least sketch it…!’
Jinho hurriedly opened his eyes and took the sketchbook and a pencil from his back.
Opening an empty page, Jinho held the pencil with his shaking hand and carefully began to draw the outline.
Using a simple gesture drawing to express the musician, Jinho sketched and materialized around him the image Jinho saw in his head.
Since what resonated Jinho wasn’t simply the picture of musician playing his music, but more the song that flowed along the musician’s hands, he tried to express the song as best as he could.
Although it wasn’t enough to sketch using just a pencil, Jinho tried his best. It was as if countless colors hung onto his pencil’s tip and flew.
And so, the breathless moment passed.
Jinho, who felt the short moment passing one station as if it was thousand, ten thousand years, finally let out a shallow breath.
‘For now…, I managed to save the impression.’
Unknowingly, beads of sweat had formed on his forehead. But the sketch was more than satisfactory. Since the image was still fresh, he felt he could draw the picture right away once he got back home.
“Thank you, thank you.”
Jinho held his hand up and wiped his sweat when he saw the musician, who finished his song, going around with a hat. The black musician, who kept bowing and moving from passenger to passenger, continued to mutter thank you even though no one put any money in the hat.
Seeing the empty hat, Jinho wetted his lips. When he noticed, his wallet was in his hand.
Holding the wallet that felt unusually thin that day, Jinho scratched his head.
‘… I don’t have much either. But since I got something whether he intended or not…”
As Jinho took a five dollar bill from his wallet and placed in the musician’s hat that passed in front of him, the musician’s eyes became round and held his hand.
“Thank you, Chinese friend!”
“I’m a Korean.”
“Oh, Korean. I love Kimchi and Psy too! I love Korea!”
Maybe I shouldn’t have given the money.
Regret always comes late.
<Miracle Drawing! 6> End
Translator : CSV
Proofreader : Kerrigan