• Published 2nd May 2016
  • 1,747 Views, 79 Comments

The Last Impressionist - CrackedInkWell

On the way home one night, Fancy Pants discovers a painting of extraordinary quality being thrown away in the trash in the poorer part of Canterlot. Curious, Fancy discovers a depressed artist who's down on his luck named Acrylic Brush.

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Chapter 3: Charity

As of now, it’s been three days since I found out that the artist, Acrylic Brush was kicked out of his place of residence. During that time, I’ve hired a private detective to see if he could find where this fellow has gone off to. In the meantime, I continued to do my job as always of being an art dealer.

I am laid back in my favorite chair in the study, going over the photographs of the latest paintings, sculptures, and fashion of the Avant Guard, jotting down tomorrow’s schedule for which artist I like to speak with versus those I can skip over. I tend to do my least favorite part of the job at the end of the day so I could get the unpleasantries out of the way before I retire to bed. All the while, a cup of smoked brandy is there on the desk to… assist me.

The door to the study opened up, and like clockwork, my butler arrives to ask the same question: “How are you this evening sir?”

Taking out the monocle out of my eye, I rubbed the weariness out from them. “I think I’m about ready to go to bed. Tell me, do you know the time, I think I’ve lost track of it.”

“It’s nearly ten Master Pants, would you like me to refill that before I give you my report.”

“No thank you, Gustave, let me finish filling this out then you can tell me.”

“Very good sir.”

A few minutes later of finishing up the given appointments for the next day, I asked him, “So what news do you have for me this evening?”

“To begin with Master Pants, I’m sorry to inform you that our second hoofcolt has turned in his resignation.”

This caught me by surprise, “Mr. Waxwork is leaving? Whatever for?”

“He said that while he appreciated working under you, he expressed that he’s being underworked and he said that he felt guilty for earning his payment for the lack of work he has to do. I think that for the short time, it’s best to give him a good reference before he leaves.”

I frowned, “That’s rather disappointing, and I was getting used to having him around given that he’s been here for three months. So I presume you’ve already given out the word to the newspaper of a job opening?”

“Of course sir, I’ve already written it and sent it over. They’ll be printing it by the morning.”

“I see,” lifting the bourbon with my magic, I asked, “anything else?”

“The private detective you’ve hired was at the door not too long ago and wanted me to give you a message.”

“Oh?” after a gulp, I inquired, “What did he find?”

“He wanted me to tell you, that there is some good news and bad news. The good news is that Mr. Brush is still in Canterlot, still alive and well. However, it would seem that he has fallen to an unfortunate state.” I asked him if he knew any details about it, “He said that he has spent the last several days in the back of restaurant, The Ninth Cloud in which he has found a hiding space to dig out scraps of food from the garbage. It would seem that he’s been trying to keep out of sight and has been hiding in the back of a dumpster. What else Mr. Brush has done is unknown.”

“Oh dear…” I leaned back in my seat. “The more I learn from this artist, the increasingly desperate the situation is becoming.” Looking down at the schedule I noticed a blank space in which nothing was written down. “Gustave, be sure that tomorrow morning to inform Fleur that I will need her with me at eleven-thirty to confront our mysterious artist.”

“Very good sir,” he nodded, “Will there be anything else?”

“Now that I think of it, yes, be also sure to let Lady Ruby that I might be late to lunch because I have an important matter that needs to be taken care of.”


On the next, windy day, by a body guard and I were at The Ninth Cloud in the eastern part of the city. The restaurant itself wasn’t exactly the gourmet, fine dining kind of place, it was more widely known as a place for tourists. Not to say that what they serve there is awful by any means, but it was alright in my book.

We stopped at the entrance to the alleyway of the establishment. As expected, it was unpaved, littered with years old rubbish and has a sense of unpleasantness from the narrow walls.

“Fancy, are you sure about this,” she asked, “I don’t like the look of this place.

“Neither do I, but we must see if we could really find the chap we’ve been looking for. Our detective said that he’s in the very back behind the dumpster. However, you are prepared with those spells of yours, aren’t you my dear?”

“Ready when you are,” she said as she was the first to step in. We walked around the muddy puddles of who-knows-what and made our way to the back where the smells of the food, both pleasant and revolting were at their strongest. There, between the brick wall of the restaurant and a tall wooden fence was the yellow dumpster. At its back, it was cluttered up remains of cardboard.

Indeed, the perfect hiding spot.

I cleared my throat, “Hello? Acrylic Brush, are you here?” No answer. “Mr. Brush, I need to speak with you.”

When there was no reply, Fleur looked at me before going towards the metal bin. Her horn grew brightly as her pink aura wrapped around the pieces of cardboard to be tossed aside. But just as she was getting at the last few boxes, there was a rustle and a crash from the other side. We both quickly look to see that a stallion fumbling on his back.

There were scratches on the pale red earth pony’s coat, his mane and tail were of dirty gray, and the poor chap’s blond eyes were in fear.

“G-Get away!” he cried, crawling on his back as we approached. “I-I told you, I don’t have any bits on me!”

“Calm yourself,” I said, “I’m not here for you for money. Nor am I going to hurt you.”

“What do you want?” his back was against the wall. It was here that I saw his cutie mark of three, squirting tubes of paint of red, yellow and blue with a paintbrush connecting all three in the center.

“Tell me, are you Acrylic Brush?”

“Yeah, so?”

It was here that Fleur took out the picture of the sun painting, “We want to know sir, did you make this?” She levitated the photo over to the stallion’s hoof.

He shook his head, “I thought I’ve thrown this away?”

“So, you did paint this?” I inquired.

“I know, I know,” he gave the picture back, “I’ve very much aware that it’s terrible.”

This took me by surprise, I looked at the picture, “Why do you think so?”

“I mean, look at it! The sea is so dark that I might as well paint it black. The sky is too dark of green, and the sun itself is a mess!”

“You really think that it’s that bad?”

“If my luck has proven me anything, that all those paintings I did are all worthless. Every, single, one of them just proves to me further how much of a frailer I really am.”

“Mr. Brush, do you honestly think that you’re a bad artist?”

He looked up at me, “Isn’t it obvious? When I’ve only sold one in my whole life? I know I’m bad at it, but it’s really the best I could do. Ha, so much for the dream of living off of my art huh? So who are you two anyway?”

“Well, my name is Fancy Pants, and this is Fleur de Lise,” I smiled, “We’re here to change your life.”

Acrylic scoffed, “Oh, hilarious, you rich ponies are here to help me? Look, I don’t know how you’ve found me or where you got that painting from, but I’ll tell you something that you clearly don’t know about me. The truth is I’m cursed, okay.”

My bodyguard raised an eyebrow, “Care to elaborate?”

“Everypony that ever tried to help me always ends up leaving. No matter how cooperative I’ve been, no matter how helpful I’ve always tried to be, everyone leaves in the end. My friends don’t want anything to do with me, my family doesn’t care for what lack of talent I have, the ponies that used to help me get the paints and canvases disappear off the face of the planet without telling me why, and all those promising buyers visit me only once, and never come back. So please, whatever it is you want, don’t waste your time on me.”

My, my, this really is serious. “Sir, I really do beg to differ. I saw that painting from several nights ago and I dare say that what you’ve made is a great work of art.”

He shook his head, “You’re lying.”

“No, no,” I sat across from him and put a comforting hoof on his shoulder, “Listen to me. I am known among the Canterlot elite for being one of the most influential ponies in the city that’s second to the Royal family. I am an art dealer of every kind from painting to fashion, so having a high taste in that said art is a priority for my job. Now, let me say that painting you’ve made is breathtaking. Nopony’s done such a masterful skill at the Post-Impressionistic style since the days of Veneigh van Gogh, Gauguin, and Moneigh! Acrylic, I am speaking the truth that I do believe that you have a wonderful talent from what I’ve seen. And I would gladly like to see more if there’re any around.”

“There aren’t, I’ve either thrown them away or donate them to those thrift stores. Chances are they’re still hanging there.”

Sighing, an idea came to my head, “What if I could give you a job?” This seemed to catch his attention, “Right now at my mansion, we have an opening for a hoofcolt that just quit yesterday.”

“What’s a hoofcolt?”

“In a nutshell, they’re a glorified waiter who cleans up the silver, set the tables, pass out the food, pour a drink and clear it. Also, they are to admit visitors who come to the door. In a way, they’re about rank or two under a butler.

“Mr. Brush, I think that in your current condition that you need a job and I’m more than willing to provide you for it. I’ll make sure that you’re trained by the staff in which they’ll give you some helpful tips here and there.”

Acrylic sat up, his ears stood right up, blinking, “You’re serious about this, all this because of a crappy painting?”

“I rather liked it. Now that I think about it, let me ask you something, for each of those paintings, how long does it take you to do one?”

The stallion scratched his head, “I don’t know… two hours at most if I had everything I needed. Why?”

“Because, I was hoping if you could make more for me? I’ll allow you to paint anything you want, landscapes, cityscapes, still lifes, portraits, anything you want. If you agree to take up the job, you’ll be provided for food, a place to sleep, and I’ll even throw in canvases, brushes, and whatever paint you need. Along with the spare time you need when you feel the urge to paint. So please, let me help you.”

The artist was skeptical of this offer, “But I’ve only made one painting that you’ve seen. How could you like what I do when you haven’t seen any of my other works?”

“An excellent question,” I smiled, “How about we give you a test run? If I like the next painting you do, I’ll personally commission you to paint as much as you like. However, even if I don’t, be rest assured that you’ll still have a job, either way, to get you back on your hooves.”

Even with a raised eyebrow, he offered his hoof up to me, but before I could shake it, he drew it back, “Don’t shake, unless you mean it.”

Well, I certainly did, “Now come along, let’s get you cleaned up first.”

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