The Painter's Apprentice

The Painter's Apprentice

4 chapters / 6098 words

Approximately 30 minutes to read


At her master's death, the painter's apprentice is summoned to finish the work of her predecessor and to take her place as the official painter to the court of the Mad King. She expects to find a court full of spoiled nobles with opulent tastes and a means to her survival. She finds this and more: romance, revolution, a race of magical beings hidden within the monarchy, and the courage to paint the world as she really sees it.


Final pic

almost 2 years ago Autumn Wren said:

Wow, what an amazing story! The writing style is beautiful, and it's mixed with the perfect amount of mystery. Please write more!


over 2 years ago Shelby Fox said:

So I've been following along with this story every time you update it. It isn't the typical story you come across (which is why I like it). A female painter who is forced to work for almost unnatural creatures, dare I say, inhuman ones. I'm very intrigued to see where this goes. Keep up the amazing writing :)

Holly iphone 419

over 2 years ago Holly Anne Black said:

This was amazing! I was so pulled into the story, i felt like i was living it. I was too involved to take notes. It was beautiful. I am dying to read more! I will probably read it over in a few days and give a very detailed review. But man, right now i am still in shock (which is a good thing). IT IS AMAZING!

Seeking light

over 2 years ago Headintheclouds said:

You do a great job of making the reader aware of the stakes, very much life and death, and there aren't many things more attention-grabbing.

My fave scene is when you describe him painting her. I could practically feel my heart pounding in my chest and also got a huge sense of her awe of him. Couldn't help feeling it myself.

The tone of this is lovely. I love how much she sees things with an artist's eye, even against her own convictions/judgments. Great use of showing who she is.

Nice work!


Holly iphone 419

almost 2 years ago Holly Anne Black said:

I like the boldness with your first line. It automatically pulls me in. I have to know why the request is a summons and who is calling her and what is the court like. You might even want to set this line apart to give it more power. Just a suggestion. I really like “four dingy walls” it gives a nice feel.

“arrives in the shambles to take me away.” this is nice, but I am kind of confused. Are you refering to the studio being in shambles..? It caused me to stumble while reading it.. I don’t quite get what you are trying to say.

“sleeves that extend to my wrists and threaten to strangle my fingers dead with ruffles and stays.” I really love this imagery.

“I see her eyes, pewter in color, linger on my indigo stained fingers. They could take the rags I called a dress when I arrived at the palace, but no amount of scrubbing and turpentine would remove the cerulean, ochre and L’Etat red that had burrowed inot my skin and made a home in the bed of my nails.” I really like this. It shows us many things about the character. One she has a good attention to detail, she noticed when the woman was looking at her, yet she was quiet about it and didn’t comment on her gaze. Also we see that she knows the exact names of the colors. Obviously she has had lots of art training. This is a beautiful way to slip in details about the character without feeling forced.. Instead of saying “she knew a lot about painting.” you showed it to us.. While giving us this beautiful description of her stained fingers.. Which I think is a lovely image in itself.

“He said the Mad King does not what to see what goes on outside the palace walls and I could not play pretend like he does.” I really like the feel of this… one that the king is mad.. Is that just the painters name for him? Or is it well known that the king is not all there… and what goes on outside the palace that is so mysterious that the king refuses to see it? You stirred up a lot of questions with this.. Making me want to read on.. And also I get to see more of the master painters attitude.. He calls the king mad.. Yet he also knows how to play his game. … also I think you mean he does not “want” to see.. Not what..

“Then we will replace them,’ the matter is settled. If I will take my master’s place as the court painter then I will wear what they tell me and do as they say.” I like this.. Normally I would say it is unnecessary to point out the mood to the reader… but this way we can immediately get the feel of the castle. It is more of a prison.. Beautiful but harsh.. And in its beauty it is counterproductive. The sleeves are pretty… but they will just get in her way… yet they will allow that.. They would waste perfectly good sleeves for looks. So what other holes are there in their principles?

“The master painter has been dead for a week and I’m still waiting for my tears to fall.” This is so powerful.. I love it! How we learn that he has been gone for a week.. Yet in all this time she hasn’t mourned… yet she is still waiting to… its very bold and gives us insight to their relationship.

“In this way, I still need him.” Ooh… bold. So she needed him before. For material goods and such… but is that all?… hmmmm arousing lots of questions.

“the stiff silks of my dress rustle around me as I follow a pair of guards in burnished gold armor.” I love this… the description is so beautiful.. It is almost as if I am there and can see it… you allow me to feel the texture of her dress to see the light glinting of the burnished gold.. And I really like that word.. Burnished.. It so aptly describes that texture. Love it!!

“We traverse hallways of marble and gilded mirrors, chandeliers and paned windows that look over gardens that might stretch on for miles in every direction.” This is gorgeous.. I feel like I am there.

“I want to scoff at the decadence but my painter’s eyes betray me. In the symmetry of every window, the patterns in the foil papered walls, the lines and rich colors that flow between each hallway and room, my eyes see beauty.” I love this. We get her feeling of irritation at the palace.. She has lived in shambles.. The fifth quarter… and yet these people live with all this abundance.. Where as she has barely been able to feed and clothe herself… yet she can’t deny the beauty in it. Her inner painter delights in its symmetry.. This is soo good!!!!!

“I can’t take in every detail at the pace we move, but every fiber of my being wants to.” I love this. So powerful.. And it is the end of the paragraph so it gives us time to really let it sink in. I really love this section… so detailed… yet it doesn’t bore us by setting up the organization of the room… yet we still get a great idea of the feel and mood.. The accents and style of the palace.

“I don’t know who is waiting for me beyond but I square my shoulders and prepare to bite my tongue because I know without doubt, I’m not what they’re expecting.” Love this!! We see a lot of her inner strength… but then also the times.. Women of her stature were not highly respected.. I really like this. And how you ended it.. Gives it time to sink in.

“For anyone else to wear such a sash, the penalty is death.”… I mean it is an interesting tidbit.. But kind of sudden.. Unless it is foreshadowing something.

“The man has pale eyes and skin so white it bleeds into the greys of his powdered wig.” like this.. I get a sense of foreboding.. He seems lifeless and dull.. Yet creepy.. Just from the description I already have opinions. Really good.

“I can sense something dangerous about him.” Yes I was right he does have a creepy vibe! :D

“His voice is cold and hollow, belying his toothy smile.” I like this.. It just adds to his weird aura.

“The rumbling in my stomach begs me to hold my tongue. The Lord knows I have suffered many a night without dinner for my sharp words to Monsieur Morel. ‘I was summonded?’ My voice has more bite than I intend to.” This is amusing and also dangerous.. I laughed.. But also am worried for her. Yet she seems to have some self restraint.

“There is no need for pleasantires between strangers and I certainly don’t mind. He hasn’t even bothered to give me his name.” I really like this. Sassy and nice wording.

“My feet move on their own, carrying me forward as the painting hooks me in the ribs and refuses to relase me.” Beautiful. Genius. I can feel her stunned shock yet reverance for the piece that she is physically drawn to it. LOVE IT!

“I nod.” I love how you set this apart. It is so bold that way. Not just a response but it makes us look at it again. She is too stunned to really respond perhaps. Still focused on the painting of herself and all the memories tied to it.

“Don’t move’ he said with a flash of madness in his blue eyes.” Love this. This feeling and vibe.

“My heart pounded in my ears, savoring the feeling of his gaze traveling over me. I had loved to watch him work- to sneak a glance at him when I should have been binding pigments- but he’d never really looked at me the way I looked at him. Until then.” I love everything about this!!! The spark of her affections.. The word choice “savoring the feeling of his gaze traveling over me.” the allure of her unrequited affections of him.. And then the fact of his death.. Its just all so intense and you pack all of this into a neat little paragraph … its so good! I LOVE IT!!!!!!

“I could have sat for hours…” I really like all the strings attached to this line.. That you don’t notice when you first read it. But if you read deeper it is really intense.

“In a vain, childish fancy, I thought I’d become his muse.” Love this! And the fact that she now regards her feelings as a childish fancy… shows her maturity.. But also a loss of her childish glow of wonder.. I really like it.

Really love the description of the painting “feverish movement” “my face and shoulders” “inky shadow” “arresting, dark color palette”

“it haunted him.” “it ruined him.” Bold word choice. I love it. SO much said with so little!

“so he took it away.” What? Why? This leads to some confusion. He seems almost harsh.. I want to know more of his character and the main character and his interactions. It is very intriguing.

“The powdered man breaks my reverire.” like your use of reverire.. Really describes her studying and love of the painting… and the fact that you refer to him as “the powdered man’ is a bit of light humor after such a serious section. I love it

“he says with a fox’s smile.” like this

“If you are anywhere near as talented as your master, you could find great success here at court.” I contemplate what he means by this… hmmm… and then her comment “at what cost” hmm… a curious (in a good way) way to end the chapter.. Leaves me wanting answers.

I like the way you start it with her waking up…. And oooohh “savoring the movements that release the scent of his eau de cologne, which has yet to fade from the down bedding.” I am still curious to what their relationship was… and that she notices these little things of his… and that she refers to him as master… not by Morel or anything casual.. But master… hmm…

“pad of feet.” “a gentle rap of knuckles.” “draped over her arms” “catch her gaze” “pregnant silence” suddenly stifling” “musical laughter” “cuts through the quiet” love this description. I love feel of the story.. The mood of it… and the word usage is amazing!

“the first is shorter than myself, I think.” why the “I think”? “gestures.. Stubby hands.. Strokes bulging chin.. Exaggerated movements.. Voice is garbled..” good description.

“Dark curling hair and contrapposto stance.. Curves away from the other… this man who draw every eye.” More of her artist lingo.. And great description of him.. And her thoughts being that of an artist.. True to her character.

“stops the breath in my throat.. Too blue.. Like master morels eyes… suprising amount of effort to look away when he does not.” oooooohhhhhhhhhhh…… I am sooo interested now!! And they take her breath away…. Like master Morels eyes…. Ooooohh oooh oooh… this is soo good!

“he wears the same false smile, but today he wears it for the short man who looks like a man squished down by a giant’s hand.” I like this description.. But you use man twice and there is something in the sentence structure that sounds odd when you read it aloud..

“I straighten at his……… hope my incursion will be forgiven” I absolutely love this entire section.. Yes.. And oooh… a smile twitches on the dark haired man’s lips….. Ooooh

“little ire as I can manage.” why would she have anger towards him.. The use of ire sounds a little off here.

“His chortle makes my stomach sour..” “I’m not sure why I expected anything else” “bawdy implications” ooohhh… this throws a wench into the gears.. Now I am even more interested… “knowing him”? what did Lord Gardet know of him?

“General Bordelon flinches at the word ‘hero’.” Oooh… why? OH The Curiousity!! :D Love it!! The intrigue! And I love his name Destan Bordelon.”

Love your description of his uniform and “the blue makes his eyes sing”

“he says with a smile at the end I think he means for me.” I like this but I feel there should be a break between end and I … perhaps.. At the end that I think… or maybe a semicolon.. (just a picky suggestion of course)

Make my chest flutter in a way that make me fear I might be sick.” ooooohh oooh! Love it!

“it also doesn’t help to know a beautiful woman will be watching me for hours on end.” OOOOOHHHHH!!! YES!! OOOH!!

“his eyes study me, like he wants to figue me out. I ignore his dangerous gaze but I secretly hope he does-- he’s the first to try.” OOOOOHHHH

“Aside from the bums that collect in filthy heaps outside the taverns in the fifth quarter” lovely description and a glimspe of her past. Nice.

“no I can’t” love this!!

Andd oooooh the description of her game of cat and mouse to avoid looking at his eyes is soo good!!!

“destan hazards to say” I looked this up because I had never heard it used like that… but I really like it.

“I can see everything you’re feeling on your face--clear as day” OOOOHH

I love there conversation… it feels very real.. And nice ending to the chapter.

Like the beginning… but maybe don’t use “see” twice right next to each other.

“Winding halls of the palace, past well guarded doors into the most lavish of any chambers I’ve seen yet.” very good I like the winding halls.. Makes me think of a maze..

“Just stand tall and look disinterested in everything and everyone around you.” lol.. that’s amusing!

“trickle of courtiers” “flatware” “esteemed guests” :ethereal in the way they move” “finery” “salon” “hor d’oeuvres” “pate” I love all your word choices.. It makes me feel as if they are really in old France.

I was really drawn into the story… to focused to take note of sentence structure … but then suddenly she freaks out… it does seem a little odd… and maybe if you wanted it to seem more sudden then you should break up the paragraph… pushing all that sudden realization into one paraphraph makes it seem rushed.. If you break it up a little it will be more powerful and might flow better.

“I whip around a corner, my shoes slipping on the polished marble, and crash bodily into a woman.” Love this description..

“shares a tawdry secret with me and it makes my heart race all over again as a cruel jealousy surges through my chest. ‘I’m sorry,’ she says. “we’re youo intiamte with Master Morel as well?” “ Oh… Oh… Oh…. This is… I don’t know how to feel…. Ouch…

“the world’s oldest profession.” oh……. Oh..

“perhaps it was the loss of innocence at his death that made me confront my own morality, but it was then that I began to sleep with a knife under my pillow.” Wow.. I was unprepared for her to suddenly take off her mask like that and be so vulnerable.. It was a good kind of shocking.. And it makes me wonder about the circumstances surrounding Master Morel’s death.

“towering bedchamber” is her bed high up… or is her room towering… I am slightly confused.

“after piling the vestiges of my dress onto a chair” like that

“I nestle deep into the down blankets which smell of the last familiarity I have of my own life.” oooh

“with a deep breath of Morel’s cologne..” ooooh…

“fondles the cold hilt of the knife which lies in wait there to steady my nerves.” LOVE IT

In the second to last paragraph you use “eyes” three times and it is kind of distracting (for nit picky people like myself)

“don’t scream” WHAT!!!??? How can you end it there (I mean it is very dramatic but how can you be so cruel to us poor readers!!!!!!) WRITE MORE!

Overall I really love the description and the feel of the story so far. You paint a beautiful setting using just a few words… its really powerful.. And then you have these subtle little hints of her character through out it.. And then you will have one or two sentences that are matter of fact but soooo bold! I LOVE IT!!