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supermikotan in ghostsugar_rp

Girly Time [tag to Soledad]

Seated on a bench in the gardens after school, Nao screwed up her face into a squint. She stared at the pink camellia she was trying to draw, and then looked down at her big sketch pad. Then she looked back at the flower, then back at the sketch pad.

THIS WAS NOTHING LIKE IT! It looked more like... well to be honest, it looked a lot like a fish. How had a camellia turned into a fish!?

The first-year held her head with both hands and shook it slowly back and forth. "Ohhhhh... This art project is never going to get done," she lamented to herself, her usual pep becoming tinged with frustration. "Why can't I draw it how it looks! What should I dooo!?"
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This was such a gorgeous day! Soledad had anxiously been waiting all day for classes to get out so she could go outside and really enjoy it. She ran to her dorm after class, changed into her 'painting clothes' (jeans and a t-shirt) and then grabbed all her supplies. She put her paints, brushes and collapsible stand into her bag and tucked a canvas under her arm. She wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to paint on a day this beautiful!

Humming to herself, Sol skipped happily toward the gardens. There was always something there so beautiful it needed to by immortalized in oil paint. Today's painting would be light and airy, she decided, to match her mood and the weather. Maybe something pink or purple...

When Sol arrived she saw that she wasn't the only one who had decided that today was a good day to spend in the gardens. There was a small girl sitting on a bench in front of her, crouched over something with a pencil and looking very intense. Curious, Sol walked up behind the girl on the bench and looked over her shoulder.

"Those camellias look amazing!" Sol exclaimed, "You draw beautifully." Sol beamed down at the top of the other girl's head, happy to have found someone to talk to while she painted.
Nao's face crumpled with embarrassment. "No, I don't, it doesn't look like a flower, even! It looks like a fish," she wailed, ready to tear this page off and start a new one. "I don't know how to draw things right. I, I hate art sometimes," she fussed. Oh my goodness, Kasuga Nao-chan had used the h-word, something was up!

Then she looked at the other girl. "O-oh...! You look like you're in Art Club. S-sorry, I didn't mean that in a bad way. I'm just not good at art. It's so hard!"
"Oh!" said Sol, "I thought you meant to do that, I mean the fish thing. Two objects in one, or something." In an unshakable good mood, Sol continued to beam down at the adorable girl on the bench. "And you're right! I am in the art club. Would you like some help? I love painting and drawing and sculpting and everything!"

Sol looked down at the paper the girl had in her lap and noticed it was covered in erasure marks, she needed to relax! Sol walked around to the front of the bench and sat down. "My name is Soledad Aldama de Urquiza, but please just call me Sol." Sol offered a slight bow from her sitting position, trying to be respectful and remember what Suguru-kun had taught her. "I'm very pleased to meet you."
"Tha-That's a long name," Nao gasped. "But it sounds very pretty. Where are you from, Sol-san?"

"I'm Kasuga Nao," she added, blushing and turning her sketch pad to a new page to start over. "I'm in homeroom 1-B."
Sol beamed at the compliment and exclaimed, "Thank you! It's Spanish-I'm from Spain. My first name means solitude or loneliness, but, like, a good kind."

"...Wait, Kasuga-san, is that like the shrine? And what does Nao mean, if you don't mind me asking?" Sol queried, honestly curious. Sol was looking at Nao's hands drawing as she spoke, and her fingers looked so stiff! Like she was going to strangle the pencil or something. "Relax your hands," Sol said softly, "you're going to give yourself a cramp."
"Ohhhh," Nao breathed, impressed by the meditative nature of Sol's name. "That's a lovely name. It sounds very peaceful."

"Oh, so you know the shrine! Yes, Kasuga Shrine is actually where my family lives," Nao nodded. "M-my name? 'Kasuga' actually comes from the name of an ancient main Shinto shrine to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. It literally means 'spring sun.'"

Now Sol had Nao on a topic she could go on about for DAYS if you let her, history. She rattled off facts, chipper. "There are actually a lot of shrines called Kasuga Shrine, the most famous is in a city called Nara. We're very distantly related."
Sol rummaged through her bag as Kasuga-san spoke, making sure to look up and smile so she knew Sol was listening. She straitened out her canvas stand and stood it up in front of where she had been sitting so she could also paint the pink camillias. "I saw the shrine while I was exploring town." Sol explained as she put her canvas on the stand. "It seemed so... peaceful."

Sol reached down and shuffled through her bag some more, pulling out some paints, brushes and her palate. She began to squirt different colors onto the palate. "Phew!" She exclaimed, "That smells! Oil paint is so strong..." She shook her head to clear it, and then smiled back at Nao, "Do you have a lot of family around here? I mean, does your family keep track of your 13th cousins and stuff? Mine does, it gets confusing trying to keep track of them all!" That could be something they had in common!
Nao nodded and rubbed the back of her neck. "Yes, we have a lot of scrolls on it at home. It's rather extensive but it's important to us."

She smiled at Sol and looked at the little paints the girl was unpacking. "Oooh, she sighed, her eyes falling on a really nice shade of bright scarlet. "I like this one. It's happy, like. Oh, and, and this green!" She picked up a tube of green that was the color of a Granny Smith apple, a happy flush settling on her round cheeks. "This is cute."
"Wanna borrow some? I could even run back and grab you a canvas. It's so much easier to paint than draw, really. It helps when you have color to work with." Sol smiled cheerily, bouncing as she prepared to paint. This made her shiny, black ponytail wave around in a horse-tail kind of way. "And oil paints are nice because they take a couple days to dry, so you can keep working on the painting... but I guess that wouldn't be too great if you need to turn it in soon. I have acrylic paint too, that dries a lot faster."

Soledad turned around and faced Nao. "Kasuga-san, would you like try to paint something? I can help you mix colors and stuff."
Nao covered her mouth, ashamed. "Oh, no, I couldn't trouble you like that. These things are very expensive!" she pointed out. "I, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel like you had to let me use them."
Sol's forehead wrinkled in confusion. "Expensive?" She asked, perplexed, "They aren't expensive. Anyway, I insist! I'll be right back."

Before Nao had a chance to respond, Sol was sprinting off down the path. She stumbled, nearly fell, caught herself and kept going. When she reached her room, she was completely winded but so excited she didn't care. She packed up a new canvas, another stand, some extra brushes and acrylic paint just in case. She realized that Nao probably didn't want her school uniform to be covered in paint stains, so she also grabbed some t-shirts.

When Sol got back to the gardens she began to set up a canvas for Nao, ignoring all her sputtered protests. She handed Nao the Prada t-shirt she had brought and said, "here, put this over your uniform so you don't get it all dirty. This paint won't come out."

Sol set Nao up a palate with acrylic paint, since it is easier to learn with and it doesn't stink. She handed Nao a real crystal cup full of real horsehair paintbrushes, gave her a big smile, and exclaimed, "let's paint!"
"O-okay," Eyes wide, Nao slipped the t-shirt on as the other girl commanded and accepted the painting supplies. The cup was really heavy and she stared at it, surprised. This hadn't come from the 100 Yen Shop...

"Are you sure this is okay, Sol-san?" she asked, timid. "I don't want you to waste your important things for me."
Sol's forehead creased in confusion. Important things? These weren't important things. Her dolls were important things, but a cup and some brushes? 'Maybe Kasuga-san has a hard time parting with stuff.'Sol thought to herself, she had an aunt who was like that.

Sol's face smoothed out and she replied, "Don't worry Kasuga-san! They are only things. Things are never that hard to come by." Sol gave Nao a big, winning smile and then dipped her brush into her paint. "The easiest way to start is by doing the whole background at once." Sol explained as she brushed broad strokes of blue across what was to be the sky. "and if you ever want to cheat on making an awesome partly cloudy day, paint a paper with blue water colors and then dab spots with a paper towel. It looks totally real!"

Sol began to mix a tiny touch of purple and green into her blue paint, just to give the sky a bit of texture. Not enough that one could tell there were other colors, but enough that it wasn't just flat and blue. "when you're done with the background you can either wait for it to dry, or just start painting over it. If you paint over it, though, you have to use more of the paint you are covering it with to make up for the mixing of colors. Just experiment, see what you like!" Sol looked over at Nao, giving her an encouraging nod.
"Hmmm," Nao thought aloud. The background eh? Well the background of the camellia she had her eyes on was the green of the bush it was on. Nao picked up the medium green and dabbed a little teeny-tiny bit onto the palette Sol had given her. With a brush she started spreading the paint sparingly onto the little canvas until it was covered in a thin tint of green.

"Like this?" she asked Sol, unsure.
Soledad beamed at Nao, "you're doing great!" She exclaimed, "Now you are going to want to add some texture so it looks like leaves. If you mix a little bit of blue in with some of the green on your palate, it'll make a good color for shadows. The easiest way to start is to just make a few short, uneven brushstrokes on one side and see which ones you think look best, and keep making them like that. If it doesn't look great at first, don't worry! Mine never do." Sol began to work with some leaf shadows too, giving Nao a more visual example of what she meant.

Sol could see that Kasuga-san was still very nervous. 'How do I get her to relax?' Sol wondered. As far as Soledad was concerned, art was an expression of the soul. How was the soul supposed to expresses itself if the body was all anxious? "Don't worry about how it looks at first, really." Sol said, "I say that because it doesn't matter. What they don't teach in class is that art is anything you can get away with!" Sol chuckled at her own joke, remembering some of her more ridiculous paintings. She could paint very realistically with intricate detail, but that wasn't nearly as fun as getting the general idea on her canvas and fleshing it out with her imagination. Anybody could copy something down, what took talent was making it up!
"Aren't shadows black, though?" she asked, confused as to why Sol said that blue was the right color to use.

Ah, cultural and personal differences. Nao was most concerned with learning how to do something PROPERLY first, and then after she had mastered the correct technique, to improvise. That was how her calligraphy, koto, dancing, cooking, and flower arranging worked. Why not art? Studiously, she took the blue and squirted a tiny bit onto the palette, again careful not to waste paint by using too much at a time.

She dabbed in some swishes to be the leaf shadows, but it looked a little funny to her. Maybe the flourescent blue she had just used was a little too light.
"Try the dark blue." Sol suggested. She left her own painting to stand beside Kasuga-san. She seemed like such a sweet girl, but she really needed a confidence boost! Maybe Sol should take her shopping... "If you look at your shadow, you can see the ground through it. It's the same with leaf shadows, you can still tell there are other leaves because the shadows are only darker." Sol continued to advise Nao, her own painting almost completely forgotten. It really was fun to have someone to teach! After Nao seemed to understand the concept of shadows, she broached highlights. She explained, and then demonstrated on her own canvas. Soledad was actually quite impressed by Nao's work, she had such nice wrist movement! Maybe she did calligraphy or something?
"Ohhh," Nao announced finally, when they had gotten the leaves' shadows and highlights painted in. "I can kind of see where it's going now, a little." She put her finger to her lips and squinted at the painting and at the bush, deep in thought.

"Hummm," she murmured. "These three leaves here should be, kind of... up there, more. I made a mistake."

"How long have you been painting, Sol-san?" she asked, curious. "You know a lot about it."
Sol began to laugh at Nao's critical eye. "Don't worry about exact positions! If you do, you'll never finish anything. Your work doesn't need to be an exact copy, just... a good idea of what you are painting."

Sol thought about the second question for a second. How long HAD she been painting? About as long as she had been trained to be a perfect rich girl, she guessed. "Uhh... I've been painting, like, maybe ten years. As long as I can remember, really. I've always been a big fan of bright colors and liked to make things have bright colors. The world can never have too many pretty things! I've had some art lessons, but most of it I figured out on my own. I mean, I can paint the way finicky art teachers want me too, but I prefer my way. Their way tends to be focused on getting all the details perfect, and that's just boring." Sol stuck out her tongue and made a face, showing exactly how boring she thought it was.

Kasuga-san seemed like she was finally relaxing a little, now that she understood some of the basics. Sol gave herself a self-contented smile, glad that she could have helped someone. She had grown up so pampered, it often felt like she was completely useless. She couldn't clean, or cook, or fold laundry but she could teach anyone to paint!
"I, I see," Nao said, meek. Uh, what else could she ask? Geez, she could never think of what to say in these kinds of situations!

"What class are you in? Are you a first-year like me? Do you have any other hobbies besides painting?"
Sol reached out and flicked some paint onto her canvas, accidentally splattering her nose with green in the process. She giggled as she answered Nao's questions. "Acutally, I'm a second year but this is my first year here. I'm in homeroom 2C, with Miyuki-sensei. I seriously love her! She's so stylish and awesome!" Sol bounced and smiled at the thought of all the amazing outfits Miyuki-sensei always had.

"Other hobbies?" Sol pondered, "Well, I love shopping and fashion, but when you have a body like a boy you don't really have a choice on that one." Sol smiled meekly at Nao and shrugged at this comment, even under two layers of shirts and the unflattering uniforms Sol could tell that Kasuga-san had a very feminine figure! "Umm... I collect dolls! I really love dolls, they are like little people you can tell anything to and they will never tell anyone your secrets. Oh! And I love love love love LOVE horseback riding! I really miss my horse Santos back home. He is so stubborn, but so sweet! He's the kind of animal that really has to like and respect you before he will listen to you. I don't think he even realizes he is an animal..." Sol heaved a sign and slumped her shoulders before shaking it off and dabbing a little bit of pink onto her canvas. Back to her normal sunny self, she turned her head toward Nao and asked, "What do you like to do, Kasuga-san? What kind of stuff do you do at the temple?"
Nao smiled softly at Sol. "It's a Shinto shrine, a temple is Buddhist," she said gently. "I know Japanese is hard, don't worry about it. I can teach you the kanji sometime."

"At home I... well, I clean up and make offerings. People want things-- like incense or food or sake-- to be offered to the gods, so that's my job. I play music too. We sell some things at a little booth at the shrine, I help make those."

"But I think out of all of those, I like playing koto the best," Nao admitted, shyly. "It makes me feel happy when I play. And comfortable."
"Oops!" Sol said, blushing. "We only have Roman Catholic churches back home, so I get confused with stuff from any other religion. I'm sorry! And I would really appreciate help with kanji, it's sooooooo confusing!" Sol gave Nao a small smile, her cheeks still tinged pink.

"Would you mind if I listened to you play sometime?" Sol asked, "I love music but I can barely play the radio! Mami tried to make me learn guitar, but I was so bad at it that she gave up.It takes a lot to make my mami give up on anything!" Sol laughed as she dabbed some more paint onto her canvas, slowly creating the shape of a flower.
Nao blushed. "Of, of course you can!" she replied, flattered beyond words. "You, you might not like the way koto sounds, it's kind of different from Western music. But I will do my best!"

She looked down at her toes, shy. "And I would be very, very happy to help you with kanji anytime you like, Sol-sempai," she added. She didn't have many friends at this school yet, and she was still missing her old friends she'd had to part with when graduating junior high. She wondered offhand if Mami-chan and Tae-chan were making friends at their new high school.
Sol beamed at Nao and clapped her hands like a little girl, swiping bright pink paint across her chest in the process. "Yay!" She exclaimed, "This is so exciting! And thank you very, very much for helping me with kanji! I just keep getting confused. Uh... Speaking of which, what is a sempai?"

Wow, Nao was so adorable! Sol just wanted to pinch her cheeks, but that would be inappropriate. That didn't mean the urge wasn't there...
"Ohhhh, right," Nao said slowly. "I forgot, sorry. Sempai is a word for an upperclassman. Since you're second year and I'm first year. We usually call our older friends that," she explained. "So that's what I'll call you."

"Look!" she announced, pointing at her pink camellia, which now had the base color and the shadows applied. "I think it's coming out way better this time! Thanks Sol!"
"Wow!" Sol exclaimed, "Your camillias look amazing! I could tell there was an artist in you somewhere just waiting to get out." She wasn't lying or being condescending, Sol meant it and it showed in her voice.

Sol decided that Nao was even cuter when she was happy about something! "Kasuga-san, you are absolutely adorable!" Sol blurted. Hmmm, maybe that wasn't the best thing to say, it sounded a little off. Oh well, Sol had come to understand that sometimes her mouth went off without her consent. She continued as if she hadn't said anything strange, "when you are finished you could leave your painting in my room to dry if you'd like, so you don't have to lug it around while it's wet. It should be totally dry by tomorrow."