I remember the day you got your new palette of watercolours.
They were a gift, I think.
You were so excited as you looked down at the collection of colours,
As if you could already picture the paintings you would create.

You use a lot of black in your paintings.
You use it to create shadows of frightful depth.
They threaten to suck me up like black holes,
If I step too close.
Be careful you don’t fall in,
Or you will surely drown in their gloomy depths.

You use black to trace the figures in your art,
Creating thick borders between each entity.
In one of your paintings, the one I love most,
Black lines make it very clear
Where the smoke billowing from the chimney ends,
And where the sky begins.
But these divisions are much more hazy in real life.
There are no black lines separating smoke from sky.
No clear indication
Of where one ends,
And the other begins.

You use a lot of black in your paintings.
The darkness slowly corrupts the neighbouring colours,
Until they have lost all their liveliness,
And their hope has been smothered by the smears of black
That you don’t even seem to notice anymore.

You use a lot of black in your paintings,
But your palette of watercolours grows old.
Each colour has been used to a different degree,
With the black so thoroughly enjoyed,
That there is almost none remaining.

I hope that one day, you run out of black.
Maybe then you’ll paint without that cursed colour,
And light colours will begin to bloom in your work.
Maybe once black has disappeared from your palette,
Happiness will have room to grow,
and it will blossom in your paintings,
and fill your mind with joy.