An aspiring painter named Dustin is on a search for love, sex, and inspiration when he meets a woman named Christiane at an art gallery. They spend the night together but the next morning she has disappeared, leaving Dustin heartbroken. He visits her family home in Southern California and learns from her younger sister that Christiane ran away at a young age after having an abortion. Dustin returns home to Los Angeles and finds success painting portraits of Christiane from memory, idealizing her as his true love. Dustin's best friend, a struggling writer named Buzz, envies his friend's newfound success. After Dustin easily beds Cathy, a woman Buzz has been chasing for two years, Buzz angrily shouts at Dustin and threatens him with a pool cue during a drunken argument. Christiane returns to the gallery and finds a nude painting of herself, which she slashes. She then breaks into Dustin's apartment and throws blue paint on him. Christiane says that they had a meaningless encounter and complains that the paintings are interfering with her life. Dustin responds that he painted them because their night together meant something to him and he wants to get to know her as a person. After making up with Buzz, Dustin ditches a show planned for him in New York by his manager Paul in order to meet Christiane at the Museum of Contemporary Art and learn about her as a person.