Play #54: Some Time Away From the Easel

The play is set in the studio of painter Trilby Sunfield—which is a large sunny room at the rear of the country house Trilby shares with her husband, Loomis Lakehead, a ceramicist.  They have no children, but they do have a heavy, perpetually sodden Water Spaniel called Lifeboat.
As the curtains open, Trilby is being interviewed by a woman from Sorely Pressed, a local wine, food and culture magazine.

INTERVIEWER (with great earnestness):  Thank you, Ms. Sunfield, for taking some time away from the easel to talk to me. 

TRILBY:  Not at all.  But we can’t be too long.  I have some well-heeled clients coming in an hour.  Steady buyers.

INTER:  I see.  Well, first of all, Ms. Sunfield, who are your artistic role models?

TRILBY (smiling blandly): Call me Trilby.

INTER:  All right, I will.  So who are they, Trilby?

TRILBY:  I’d say I’d been most influenced by Salvador Dali, James Kierstead, Charles Pachter and Trisha Romance.

INTER:  Some of my favourites too!

TRILBY:  Oh and Monet.

INTER:  Yes, of course.

TRILBY:  And Rembrandt.

INTER:  Right.  And what is your favourite subject?

TRILBY:  Well, my real passion at the moment is painting skies.  Cloudy skies, sunny skies, stormy skies, moody skies, Blue skies, unsettled, bad-tempered skies, all kinds of skies.  As long as they’re up there, I’ll paint them. 

INTER (giggling):  I guess you’ll never run out of material!  So tell me, what is so fascinating about skies?

TRILBY:  Well, for one thing, they give me a hit of abstract in my painting.  You see, when you paint skies, you’re painting something that’s lighter than air!  It’s magic!  And quite frankly, sky paintings sell like crazy.  They just fly off the studio walls!  People love skies.

INTER: People also love trees and babies and puppies too, don’t they?

TRILBY: I suppose, but not the way they love skies.

INTER:  So skies are really really important to you.

TRILBY (rolling up her eyes to the firmament above):  Yes, really really!  Skies are the very soul of my paintings!!

INTER:  Tell me, Trilby, where do you get your inspiration?

TRILBY: Mostly just by looking up!  But I’m also inspired by the work of other painters—like the Group of Seven and John Singer Sargent.  And I have this friend, Connie Jekyll, who is a terrific painter.  She makes farmyard scenes.  She’s especially good at old barns.   She’s quite radical—she uses a palette knife!

INTER: And you like her work a lot?

TRILBY:  Oh, tremendously.

INTER:  Just one last question.

TRILBY (glancing at her watch): Yes, though I do have some buyers coming shortly.

INTER:  Why do you feel compelled to create?

TRILBY: Really just for the joy of it. I’m always growing as an artist, and if I don’t keep painting, how will I ever know how great an artist I can be?

INTER (helpfully):  So you’re always seizing the moment?

TRILBY (momentarily perplexed):  What?

[There is a melodious ring at the door]

Oh now you really must excuse me.   My clients have arrived.  I do hope our chat was helpful?

INTER:  Inspirational!

TRILBY (smiling blandly):  Oh good.

[The doorbell rings again]  Coming, coming!