Every Painting tells a Story

When Chew Bear finished his painting, he was out of breath and dizzy. He sat down and wiped his eyes. Finally he looked up at the canvas and was taken aback by what he saw. Spread out before him was a detailed, and very pretty, painting of an island shaped like an “S”. It almost resembled a map because the design was so intricate that you could see things like trees, rocks, rivers, huts and more.  But what surprised Chew Bear the most was that he KNEW this place, he just wasn’t quite sure how!

Ms. Potts walked around the class and admired their work. When she stopped at Chew Bear’s easel, she asked him where the island was, and what it was called. Chew Bear wasn’t sure what to say, so he blurted out, “It’s called the Invisible Island and it is from a book I read!”

Ms. Potts seemed to think that story was fair enough. Chew Bear, on the other hand, wasn’t sure if it was the island from his book, from his imagination, or from his life! That very night Chew Bear went home and re-read his book for the umpteenth time (he had actually purchased the book from the library a few weeks back for several months’ allowance). He had to admit, there were definitely some similarities.

The next week during art class, Ms. Potts announced to the class that the school would be throwing an art show at the local museum. She then posted a list of all the students who were chosen to display their artwork during the show. Chew Bear located his own name within the list and was interested, and a bit nervous to see that he would be showing his “Invisible Island” painting. He knew that it was an honor to have been chosen, and he really should be more excited, but he was worried what others would think of his work and that it might not get a favorable response.

Over the next few weeks, the class spent time perfecting their pieces, and adding extras like frames, and descriptions. The description on Chew Bear’s piece read:

The Invisible Island

Artist: Chew Bear

Inspiration: The Invisible Island resembles the description of an island I once read about in a book. The island is shaped like an “S” but is nowhere to be found on earth. Only one person is known to have ever visited the island; an old sailor who actually wrote the book himself. The question is: Is this place real?

The description itself, which was then placed in a program, was enticing enough to draw a large crowd during the art show later that month.  As Chew Bear stood in front of his artwork, dressed up in a brand new green tie courtesy of Chacha, many people stopped by to tell him how wonderful his artwork was, and how great it would be if a place like that truly existed.

When Chacha and Chaka arrived at the show, they were stunned to see Chew Bear’s island painting. It somewhat resembled the island where they had found him, they thought, but this island was beautiful, lush, green and enchanting, while the island where they had found Chew Bear several years ago was deserted, dying and falling apart. They thought it best not to spoil his interpretation with the facts, and instead told Chew Bear how lovely his painting was.

As Chew Bear discussed his artwork with the guests, he noticed a short, old man with a long white beard and a walking stick staring at him from the corner of the gallery. The man seemed to be mesmerized by Chew Bear’s painting. It was a bit strange, Chew Bear thought.

The night went on without a hitch and Chew Bear really felt proud and accomplished by the time the last guests were trickling out the big double doors at the front of the museum. Chaka and Chacha were one of the last sets of parents to leave, and only did so when Chew Bear asked to stay after to help clean up. Chaka promised to pick him up outside in an hour.

Chew Bear begin to pack up his painting, preparing to take it home and hang it in its specially designated spot above the fire place, when the same old man from earlier in the evening reappeared. He walked up to Chew Bear and started mumbling some nonsense. All that Chew Bear could make out were the words “Erie”, “island”, “magical” and “creature.

Because Chew Bear had never met this man before, he knew that it was important that he notify and adult. This man was a stranger and he had been taught, time and time again, never to talk to strangers or accept anything from them. Chew Bear looked at the man once more, and their eyes locked and Chew Bear could feel the man’s energy and emotion, he could feel his THOUGHTS.

Chew Bear suddenly broke the gaze and ran off to find Ms. Potts to tell her of the strange man who had confronted him. By the time he returned, the man was nowhere to be found. Ms. Potts told Chew Bear not to worry, and to collect his painting and meet his parents outside. As Chew Bear wrapped his project in bubble wrap and prepared to meet Chacha and Chaka, he noticed that tucked behind his painting, between the frame and canvas, there was a small envelop peeking out. On the back of the envelope, as if to seal the insides, was a stamp of the symbol Chew Bear had seen in his book and in his flash backs……


To be continued….