• 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.

  • ...
7
 79
 1,747

PreviousChapters Next
Chapter 5: The Cat in the Lilies

There is a bit of a ritual in Canterlot, in that whenever a pony of power, influence or great wealth comes to one’s home to spend the night, all those in the house, including myself, would all line up before the front door when that said pony arrives.

In the light of the afternoon sun, I stood on the very steps of my home while the servants lined up on the sidewalk for his arrival. When news that he arrived at the station was heard, I gave the order to fall in and wait. A few minutes later, the coach rounds the corner being driven by four intimidating ponies. The expensive carriage of expensive wood slowed to a halt before us in which the drivers unhooked themselves and let the pony of honor out.

Stepping out was an old stallion of a familiar white coat, gray beard and a dark expensive suite along with a gray shorthair cat with white paws that leaped out. With a smile, he called out to me, “Fancy, it’s so good to see you once more.”

I nodded, “Afternoon father. How was your trip?”

“Oh it was quite wonderful, Neighpon was very beautiful when all the cherry blossoms out.” The gray cat rubbed against the elderly stallion’s foreleg. Chuckling, he commented, “Saaya had a nice time too. I’ve brought you gifts I want to show you.”

“Father, you know you didn’t ha-”

“But I insist Fancy; I’ve bought these with you in mind.”

I turned to the hoofcolts, “Mr. Nocturne, Mr. Brush, will you retrieve my father’s belongings and place them in the first guestroom?”

“Right away sir,” they both said in unison as they went up to the coach drivers to pick up the steamroller suitcases.

Father went walked up to me to give me a nuzzle, “Still, it’s very good to see you again,” then I looked down as I felt the old cat rubbing itself on both of my forelegs, “Saaya misses you too.”

“How are you now?”

“Getting better, I think that trip did me some good.” As he said this, I saw his eyes drift to the side as both of the hoofcolts carried the suitcases up the steps. “Is it me, or have you got a new servant?”

“Oh, you must have noticed Acrylic Brush. Yes, he’s quite new.”

“How long has he been here?” he asked as we entered into the mansion.

“I think about a week and a half. The poor fellow was in such a desperate situation, and since the last hoofcolt quit, I decided to give the position to him.”

“Really now?”

“Excuse me, sir,” this time, it came from the Artist. “I was wondering after I bring Tweedy Pants belongings upstairs, would it be possible to allow me to paint right after?”

“Oh? What do you have in mind?”

“I was thinking of painting the flowers in the garden sir.”

“That would be perfect actually. Do me a favor, once you get done, run downstairs and tell Ms. Copperpot to run some tea?”

“Yes sir,” he nodded and trotted up the staircase.

All the while, I confess, I did take a quick glance at his… physique as he carried the suitcase up with him. Then hearing my father clearing his throat helped snapped my attention, “Hm, yes?” My father had an eyebrow raise, “What?”

“Oh nothing, I was just finding it interesting that you hired that bloke out of, as you say, ‘desperate situation’ and suddenly you were looking at his backside.”

My eyes flew open wide and I think I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks, “It’s not like that!”

“I’ll take your word for it son. I have an idea, why not we have tea in the garden? That way I can get the chance to see what this fellow is like.”

“Actually, I had the same idea. I say that you’ll know how I came across him.”

I lead my father to the back of the mansion where the garden was. Although not as massive and impressive compared to the Royal Gardens, the one I have is still a pleasure to the eye. Being late spring, there’s plenty of greens that grow among the flowers. There were gravel pathways, a small pond in the center, a Classical statue there, a Sundile there, trimmed bushes that spiraled, and near the kitchen a patch of herbs and spices for the cooks. There was also a cast iron table with a pair of chairs in which I offered my father a seat.

“Thank you,” he said sitting down. “Now I’m curious about the new hoofcolt, how did he come to your attention?”

“By a lucky accident,” I said sitting down, “I happened to have spotted a painting that he made being thrown in the trash and I saved it before the rain could have ruined it.”

“So he’s an artist?”

“Yes quite, since he’s coming out here to paint, I figured we get ourselves a front row seat as he works. Anyway, it took a while to find him, and the poor fellow had ended up taken residence behind a dumpster, completely homeless and without a job. He’s not a drunk or anything salacious (as far as I know) but has fallen on very hard times.”

“In other words, you hired the bloke because you felt sorry for him and you happened to have an opening?”

“In order for him to get him back on his hooves.”

Father chuckled, “You still have your mother’s sense of charity.”

“However,” I added, “from what I’ve seen, he really is a talented painter. Why I think I’ve discovered a master of Post-Impressionism that’s working under my roof! You should really see what he could do since I feel that this stallion has plenty of promise.”

“Now that makes sense, be the first in line for the picking,” my father nodded. “Anyway, since I’m here, I was hoping if I could talk to you while we’re waiting for our tea.”

“About?”

“Your future.”

“Oh,” I scoffed, “not this again.”

“Fancy,” he said with a voice of seriousness, “I’m only concerned about you and the legacy of this house. Now, I’ve come to grips about you… attractions and I have no say in who in particular you should end up marrying. But you’re in your late thirties and you should seriously consider these sorts of things.”

Saaya meowed from under the table; father put a hoof to pet its head. “Father, I understand completely in what you’re trying to get at. But for me, it’s much easier said than done. As far as I can see, I don’t really see anyone in Canterlot that isn’t going to guarantee me that I won’t end up in a miserable marriage. Nor could I see any clues from any other pony that doesn’t involve money.”

“Perhaps you ought to be on the lookout for a pony that’s humble. Such a trait can go a long way in the long run. Preferably, of course, as long as that said pony has some kind of reputation.”

I couldn’t help but rolled my eyes, “Does happiness count as a noble trait as well?”

“Of course. It’s just reasonable that you get married to somepony, being male or female, that is known for contributing something positive to the general, and elitist public. I’m not asking if they’re rich, just someone that has a good track record, so to speak.”

“Father,” I quickly decided to change the subject, “How long are you going to be here?”

“Only for tonight before going back to Trottingham, after all, I still have to give you your gifts.”

“Sir,” Acrylic’s voice spoke up, we turned to find the stallion was carrying the tea tray on his back, “the tea you requested.”

“Thank you Acrylic,” I said, “You may bring out your equipment out here and begin painting when ready,”

With a bow, the stallion returned to the mansion and came back with the tripod, canvas, and the bag of brushes and paints. But as soon as he came out, Saaya had stopped him in his path in which the fellow did the most curious thing. As soon as the cat looked up at him, Acrylic took a step back and bowed to it before the feline went into the garden.

“I say Acrylic, what was that about?” I asked.

“Well, where I come from Mr. Pants,” he said as he slowly examined the flowers, “the Felines are considered sacred to us.”

“Really, cats are sacred to you?” my father asked with intrigue.

“From my town, they are. I grew up west of Equestria, just above the South Luna Ocean that we have, I guess what you call, a little cult that worships the blessed Felines.” He paused over the Lilacs but then shook his head before moving onto the next patch of flowers. “We consider them to be spirits in the flesh that keep other evil spirits away. So ancestors like mine made a deal with them, that in exchange for giving us good luck, we leave out offerings of scraps on the steps of the front door and allow them to come and go in our houses as they please.”

“Now that’s quite fascinating,” father said. “So you believe that Saaya over there is a spirit that provides good luck?”

“I know so,” he then came to the patch of Lilies where the cat was. It was laying belly down on the dry earth, licking its paws in the shade of the flowers. Acrylic looked down at the gray feline for a moment, “Blessed Saaya, with your permission, may I paint you beside the flowers?” the cat only looked up at him before returning to cleaning his paws.

Apparently, he took it as a yes because he immediately set the tripod on the spot. He sketched away like mad of father’s pet as it laid there in the sun. Soon enough, father got up out of his seat to get a closer look at the canvas, taking his cup with him.

I did the same as well, and by the time I was standing at his side, he’s already picked up the first jar of paint and had begun to attack the canvas in an earthy brown around the cat.

“How are you getting along with this new job, Mr. Brush?” my father asked.

“At least I’m getting some bits for the first in a long time,” he said. “Your son has been awfully kind to me. I am grateful that he allows me some time to paint.”

“And how long have you been painting?”

He shrugged as he moved onto the next color, a deep turquoise, “I think since I was… Twenty-two gives or take.”

“He’s thirty-two now,” I informed him, “Which means that he’s been painting for ten years.”

“Or at least, when I get the chance,” Acrylic added.

Father and I watched after the green was applied, that he moved onto the dull yellow for the flowers before he used a dark purple and gray for Saaya. Once the first layer was applied, he moved on to lighten up the picture with shades of orange, lighter greens, lively yellows, gray and eggshell white. His brushstrokes added more depth; one shade of color was stacked on top of another. Dashes of deep violets and blues were added in places of shadow, the flowers brighten up with each touch, the green stems were given texture, and the cat itself… looked like it was at peace with the universe. Its forepaws crossed with its head lying down. Eyes closed, it seemed to have fallen asleep in the warm light while Saaya’s fur moves gently in a never-ending breeze.

My father looked on as one layer of paint was quickly followed by another. Looking between the cat and the painting, he was silent the whole time, taking sips of tea every so often. I peeked over to see that he was impressed.

When Acrylic stepped back, I put a hoof on his shoulder, “Well done Mr. Brush! Another masterpiece!”

However, he only shook his head, “It’s… okay.”

I sighed, “Acrylic, dear chap, you ought to give yourself more credit. This is good, very good.”

“I don’t know… the head looks a little funny.”

“I like it,” Father said with a smile, “Actually… I like it a lot. There’s almost a… Picasso kind of feel to it but has all the color of a Van Gogh wouldn’t you say?”

“Indeed,” I nodded, turning to the artist. “Admit it, you did excellent today.”

“It could be better.”

“Acrylic, it's fine as it is. You’ve done a wonderful job at it.”

Acrylic didn’t reply as he was looking down at Saaya that walked out of the lilies and was coming towards father to once again rub against him. “Shall I place this in the attic to dry sir?” he inquired.

“You may,” I patted his back; he carefully placed the painting on his back, bowed to the cat before leaving.

We returned to the cast iron table in which father commented, “Fancy, I must agree with you on one aspect. That bloke has talent alright; I think you ought to keep an eye on him because I can see one day he’s going to give the world something to talk about.”

“Well, of course, I know that,” I confessed to him, “But what’s frustrating is that he doesn’t see that. I know he has all the talent right there at his hooves. Yet, he thinks that he’s nothing special, even with his talent. The poor bloke is never satisfied with his work no matter how good it really is.”

“How peculiar,” father leaned back, “has he been painting ever since you gave him the job?”

“Every single day, he has painted still lives, a hoofful of portraits, and even a view of the street. They’re incredible, but to him, all he’s created is nothing but rubbish.”

“So he doubts his talents then,” he asked and I nodded. “Have you thought of any way to cheer up his spirits?”

“There are two reasons why I having him paint, one is to be used as a kind of therapy to help him recover from his melancholy. But the other, I’m planning to give him a bit of a surprise.”

“Oh?”

I leaned over and whispered, “I’m planning to hold a premiere of his works to give him the attention that has been so long denied. I bet within a month, I’ll have more than plenty to show them.”

By now, Saaya was purring as it hopped onto father’s lap, “That would be interesting I’m sure. So tell me, how is he been to you?”

“Mr. Brush? Well, he is very straightforward, if I dare say. He’s been honest, grateful, and is very quick to learn at maintaining this new job.”

Father stroked the cat’s fur in thought, “Fancy, if I was you, I might want to interact with this fellow more often. He seems like a nice stallion to be with.”

I raised an eyebrow, “What are you implying?”

“From what I’ve seen, perhaps it might be worth it to look into Mr. Brush a little more.”

Frowning, I said, “Father, I don’t think it’s wise to so much as ask him out on a date without knowing if he’s even interested in doing so.”

He shrugged, “You never know. Oh, and one more thing."

"What?"

"Get a cat," he sipped his tea, "With a fellow that worships cats, I think it would be interesting."

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!