It had been many years since DI Chandler had used his watercolour pencils in an artistic and not professional way, thankfully the art of sketching was coming back to him as he waited in the car with his work colleagues, waited to catch their criminal red handed.
He had had plenty of time in the nearly day long stakeout to make preliminary sketches of the fields they were staked out by. The cottage they were watching was hidden from view behind a screen of mighty chestnut trees. The hideaway wasn't a particularly interesting prospect for a drawing anyway, being nothing more than a standard white walled and red tile roofed pseudo farm with a rams head on the gate.
The morning had been hot and sticky and as the time dragged on the others had become fractious. He'd been lucky to have something at hand to when do Miles suggested they play a round or two of cards. The pencils had been in the boot, ready for him as an excuse not to join in the rowdy game.
His DS had Mansell and Kent quite literally losing their shirts in minutes. To stop the racket and make them look less suspicious (five people parked on the side of the road, two with their shirts off, could be seen as odd) Chandler had ordered them to go and pretend to have a picnic in the adjacent field. He'd even offered up the blanket from the picnic set he also kept in his boot for their comfort.
Luckily it was still a warm day so picnickers weren't too unusual a sight. They were meant to be taking turns with Riley to watch the road, but like her boss she didn't feel comfortable playing cards while on duty and sat 'bird-watching' the farm instead.
As the day wore on and the wonders of nature began to pall, it seemed only natural for Chandler to begin sketches of his companions. Joe eventually chose one of them as the perfect model to break up his sketched landscape. He'd done quite a decent portrait of Kent, he felt he'd caught the DC's eyes rather well.
Eventually the stake out had yielded their villain, they had very little trouble getting their man when it came to it. There was a small scuffle which the DC's handled well, then back to the station for processing and the odorous task of emptying the car of various drink bottles and chip packets. And paperwork. Always, there was paperwork.
Later Chandler had settled down at home to combine his sketches into a decent composition. The field made a rich backdrop for his model, who he'd caught in a semi recline, looking towards the viewer.
The blue field flowers were so delicate and pure he'd given into temptation and turned them into a circlet for Emerson to wear. They contrasted so well, he told himself, with his models fair skin that it was natural to put them in close proximity.
Of course, he was having trouble convincing himself he had a valid reason for drawing Kent nude.
Not completely naked - obviously. His lap was shadowed by the crook of his leg and some handily placed field grasses.
Chandler spent long minutes blending in the highlights and shadows of Kent's arms, legs and chest. He only had one brief memory of his men standing forlorn and boxer clad under a shower pipe after being doused at a drug lab with chemicals, but luckily his memory of Kent at that time had remained sharp and in focus.
His black boxers had had a robin on the front, as he recalled, and had clung tightly to his body. He'd looked cold and vulnerable.
The whole drug lab incident had been rather frustrating at the time, Joe had been unable to protect his men and felt angry, out of control. As a result every pen, chalk and pencil in the entire office had been placed in colour coded ranks from longest to shortest; every paper clip counted and accounted for, every file lined up and strait. It had not been a good day for mastering his OCD.
When he was young he'd taken up art as a way to harness his controlling tendencies. If he could draw it correctly he felt, he could capture order and so not have to concern himself with recreating it over and over again in his daily life.
This hadn't worked, he'd taken more time to check and double check that all the pencils were set out just so, sharpened and in their correct place, the paper was lined up, the water clean and the smudge cones arranged by size than he did actually drawing.
He ended up doing most of the compulsive checks today as he worked, but that important ingredient, the deep desire to get the job done, worked with him and he was soon colouring and blending until late into the night. Actually it was quite late the next morning when he put his blending cone to one side and regarded the finished product.
Emerson Kent reclined in a field of Forget-me-nots, looking doe eyed and youthful, flowers in his hair, a shy smile upon his lips.
Chandler had never drawn anything so beautiful before. A feeling of contentment, of completion, stole over him.
All that remained was to let the picture cure and put it under glass. He would order in a special silver frame and hang it - where? He needed to be able to see it without being on public display, but to still have a clear view. The study should do, nobody ever went in there. It would just be him and his creation, although Joe wouldn't be surprised - now that he'd started watercolours again - if a few more pieces were to be added.
And because this picture had turned out so well, he would use Emerson as his muse and model again. For the sake of his art - naturally.