The Master Artisan wiped the last bit of paint from his brush and set it gently on the table, never once taking his eyes off his masterpiece.
It was incredible. Breath taking. He had never before felt so in tune, so connected with his work.
It was spectacular...he couldn't even begin to put into words how he felt staring at the canvas.
His eyes took in the spectacular color. The amazing lines. It was a color he had never seen before. There was no name for this brilliant hue. Of the millions of colors in the spectrum, this one was unique.
As he stood pondering his work of art, it was as if the word filtered softly through the air, and slipped silkily into his brain of its own accord.
Aubreen. That was the only word that captured the color in its truest form.
Deftly, in three fluid movements, he had the canvas wrapped and stored away. Unveiling it would have to be done carefully and with much consideration. He had labored for years, decades. It was surreal to think that he had actually finished. All the times he had sat staring at his paints, struggling to put onto canvas what was dancing within his mind. It all led to this. This moment in time when he could finally put his supplies away and consider it "finished."
He laid awake that night, charged with the anticipation of the unveiling that would take place the next day. He slept not a wink that night, but arose the next morning refreshed and resolute.
He entered the city gate among the many towns people, all there to witness this remarkable occasion. The mayor rushed to greet the Artisan-putting an arm across his shoulders as he led him toward the grandstand in the center of the throng of people.
The Artisan, aware that this was how it was to happen, shrunk back at the sight of all the people. Although he had much excitement about sharing this wonderful creation, he was hesitant to end this intimate journey. For so long it had been only he and his work. But today, he felt like a parent presenting his newborn child to the world for the first time; proud, excited, nervous, protective...
Before he realized what was happening, the mayor thrust him onto the stage in full view of the audience. He took a moment to blink, trying to clear his thoughts. There before him was a mass of people as far as the eye could see. It was a sea of faces, each blurring into the next, all waiting with anticipation etched across their faces. His hands held tighter to the canvas. He felt the slightest bit of apprehension spread through his chest and into his throat.
While he had considered this a labor of love, he could see the almost rabid expectancy on the faces of the crowd.
And then it was time. A hush fell over the crowd.
The Artisan looked down at the wrapped package in his hands and then slowly up at the Mayor. The Mayor smiled broadly and motioned toward the easel that stood empty to the Artisan's left.
Slowly, with trembling fingers, the Artisan carefully unwrapped the canvas. As the last bit of cloth fell away and he hoisted it onto the easel, there was a collective gasp.
Everyone rushed forward, anxious to get a closer look. The Mayor all but shoved the Artisan out of his way so that he could stand directly in front of the canvas, gripping both sides, staring wide-eyed at the amazing work.
Very quickly the mass changed from intrigued to a riot, forcing their way closer to the stage. Amidst the chaos, as the Artisan was pushed farther and farther away from the easel, he could hear snippets of conversation;
"What color IS that?!"
"No, no! It's more green!"
"Let me see!"
"Out of the way!"
"What color is that?!"
The Artisan stumbled blindly down the stairs. He looked longingly toward his work. It was obscured by the thousands of people clamoring to see it, to touch it.
A voice rose above the noise. The Mayor spoke into the microphone, "Artisan. This is amazing! Tell us about this?"
The crowd parted as every eye turned toward the Artisan.
His throat felt like sand paper. He licked his suddenly parched lips.
His voice was no more than a whisper.
"It's Aubreen" was all he could muster.
Silence hung in the air for a beat and then everyone started talking again at once.
"No it's green!"
"It's blue, I tell you!"
"You're both wrong! It's red with flecks of yellow!"
And so it continued.
Time moved slowly. It was as if everything was moving underwater.
He simply stood listening as everyone shouted out what color they thought it was, each believing his own opinion was right
The Artisan wept. His creation, so unique and unusual was not being appreciated for what it was. Instead, each tried to define it based on what they believed it to be. What they were used to seeing. What they wanted it to be.
They weren't seeing it for what it truly was.
He felt despair. A cold, empty lump in his heart.
How could they take something so beautiful and relegate it to something so...ordinary?
They would never be able to experience it to its fullest. Instead they had chosen to make it into something familiar, comfortable, known.
They argued and fought. They debated its color. Some said "green", others "blue", still others "brown." Each voice louder, more confident and more forceful than the last. Each more sure than the others that he was right. They based their assumptions on past experience, on their friends' opinions, and on what made them feel most comfortable.
If anyone suggested asking the Artisan, others hushed them and explained that each man had his own ability to interpret what the color was-- to decide for themselves what its name should be. They reassured each other and themselves that the Artisan wasn't needed, that he didn't want to explain it to them.
Others even said they didn't believe the Artisan even existed since they hadn't seen him with their own eyes. They had been too far back in the crowd to see.
The Artisan hung his head. He felt great sorrow. All he had worked for was for naught.
They wouldn't listen. They were convinced that they knew better than he, the creator; The Master Artisan.
People who had never so much as picked up a paint brush in their lives, who had never had the burden and miracle of inspiration burn in their hearts, or toiled endlessly, painfully over canvas, now suddenly knew better than he who had.
He stumbled slowly, resignedly away from the crowd. They had all forgotten he was even there.
There was not one acknowledgement of his effort. Not one nod in his direction.
Each man took turns accepting accolades from the others as he determined what the color "actually" was. The crowd roared louder with each exclamation that every man should decide for himself what color the masterpiece was. For those few who insisted that it was in fact Aubreen, they were pushed farther and farther outside of the group and some were even dragged away and beaten.
The Master Artisan walked solemnly away-off to a different land where he may find those who would appreciate and embrace what his art truly was.
And it was finished.