I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. His name is Juan Carlos Alejandro Perez de Luna, but for some reason he prefers to be called Brian. Brian is a Spaniard who loves his heritage. You don’t have to be around Brian long to know that he hails from a Madrid suburb called Las Rozas, he loves Real Madrid, and he’s walked the Camino de Santiago twice.
Brian is also an artist – well, he’s not a very good one.
But being Spanish, he claims to have some direct lineage to Picasso and he keeps trying. I don’t know if he is telling the truth on that one, but I do respect his tenacity. Unfortunately, his art never paid the bills. So Brian had to get a job as a brick layer. As luck would have it, while he lacks artistic ability, he seems to have incredible skill at laying brick. Still, he never gave up on his dream of being an artist and wakes up before the sun every morning to paint, in the hopes that his brush will one day find its voice.
Years went by with more and more bricks and fewer canvases.
One day, Brain discovered something. It came to him unexpectedly but he recognized its value right away. It wasn’t the style or stroke that he had sought for so long. He didn’t dabble in surrealism or try his hand in the abstract. No, Brian found a new color – one he had never seen before. He called it Yamarillo.
When he told me about this new color, he looked slowly in both directions and said it softly as if someone might pilfer his very words. With his thick accent, I couldn’t understand and I had to ask him to speak up.
“Marco, es Yamarillo,” he whispered.
I laughed a little because when he says it, it sounds like an ad for a cheap perfume. But he gave me a look that told me he was deadly serious.
Brian painted with this new color and found that he enjoyed it very much. It was gentle and peaceful, but at the same time it clamored to be heard. In it, he saw joy and energy, youth and vitality; but also a deep wisdom that only the colors of the ages like purple and blue possess. He loved creating with Yamarillo. When he dabbed his brush in Yamarillo, everything was right. For the first time in his life, he felt like a true artist.
It didn’t take long before people began to notice Brian’s paintings. His work with color created some buzz among art critics and he actually sold a few – not enough to give up bricks, but just enough to make him feel like he had a hope and future.
Then, to his dismay, Brian found that he was running out of Yamarillo.
He searched high and low but couldn’t find it again. His supply was dwindling and he realized to his horror that he would soon be completely out. What would he do without this beautiful color? By this time, only one small jar remained and my friend, Brian, had a choice to make.
Day after day, Brian has studied that jar and tried to decide if he should open it and use its contents, or leave it on the shelf so he can enjoy it forever. On one hand, he yearns to paint with this color that brings him infinite joy and stirs the fascination of the art world. On the other, every stroke of the brush is like a stab in the heart because of Yamarillo’s finite supply.
What should my friend, Brian do?
(Image credit: Mark Burnett)