His well-worn paintbrush seemed to have a will of its own that Sunday. The large white canvas under the brush’s strokes was rapidly transformed into poignant greens, muted reds, and somber browns all fluently medleyed with shades of blue and gray and accurately translating the windowed tableau posing expectantly in the distance.
“Ah-h-h! You have magic in your touch today, my boy!” the artist congratulated himself, absentmindedly wiping sweat from his brow. His stomach growled loudly, but he ignored the pains and labored on, not wanting to waste one minute of the inspired genius that had driven him since daybreak.
Hours later, children’s voices echoed from the valley below, their release from tedious teachers energizing them as no subject could. But the man was oblivious to all except his passionate response to the guiding flame deep in his gut. His overtaxed arm trembled slightly as he applied the last brushstroke.
“Now, you can rest, ol’ boy,” he marveled at the completed breathtaking masterpiece.
The gigantic window glass pane he had installed only days earlier certainly was worth the last of his money, he thought, it’s translucent polished surface still smudge-free and oh, so clear.
The man sat down in the worn wicker chair in front of the window, the scenic outdoor visage mirroring the easeled canvas painting next to him. He took sips from the now warm wine bottle on the side table, savoring not only its nuances, but the soothing oasis of a job well done. He anticipated acclaim and fortune from this achievement, something he had acquired only once before for a portrait. And, as he gazed, a black speck in the now cloudless sky appeared, growing larger every few seconds.
“Could it be?!” the artist wondered. “An eagle? An eagle!” Awed by the blue-black glistening wingspan of the impressive bird, he watched its approach and wished it would come close enough in its flight for him to capture its many-faceted qualities for his picture. Regardless, he counted it a good omen to be favored with a sighting of the magnificent creature.
Closer and closer it advanced and the man quickly grabbed up his sketching pencil in anticipation.
BAM! The eagle, at full speed, crashed into the window, vibrating the easel propped against it. Open-mouthed, the artist tried to avert pending disaster by lunging for the drying painting, to no avail. It tipped precariously and then plopped to the floor, with a dull thud, face down. Wincing, the dismayed man reached for the fallen object, hoping to retrieve it before the colors mashed into the floor tiles.
The painting was ruined.
. . .
The old studio looked perfect to the young woman, a budding artist; the view, magnificent. The stained floor tiles in front of the large window and the vertical hairline crack across the glass just added to the authentic purity of her surroundings.
The owner, an elderly gentleman from the “old school”, had told her the apartment’s sad history, one that had passed from his great-great grandfather down through the following generations:
“Yep, that artist was famous for a stunning portrait of a celebrity, but he died here in poverty and starvation. Seems something happened that made him vow never to hold a paintbrush again after a second passionate work had been destroyed. Always wondered why, folks did. He was so talented!”
The young lady thought about this recluse the next few days as she cleaned years of debris and intricate cobwebs from the crawlspace-type attic. Apparently, previous tenants had not utilized its storage area. She, on the other hand, intended to open it up as a loft with an impressive circular staircase leading up to it.
Accidentally, she found it—a hidden cache of unfinished work signed by “Woodville”, the aforementioned artist. There were sketches of landscapes galore . . . and one large canvas with splotches of variegated colors and raised textures that astonished her in its intensity.
. . .
The appraisal of $1,000,000 was less than the final auction price bid of $2,000,000 for “Woodville’s Final Work”, the collage of smattering oil paints quite unlike his typical still-lifes.
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