Andre had no formal qualifications, but he loved to paint and draw, and he had even tried his hand at some sculpting in wire. He had become proficient in doing city-scapes, and eked out a meagre living selling them to tourists.
His “studio” was no more than a garden shed. It was there that he transformed the sketches he made while waiting for customers into paintings.
One evening there was a ferocious evening storm. It seemed to rock the very foundations of his humble home. In the morning, Andre discovered that a tree had fallen onto the roof of his beloved shed, collapsing the roof. Shelves had tumbled, and canvases and paints alike were strewn willy-nilly about the ruins.
There would be no sales that day as Andre began to pick through to detritus of his livelihood. He managed to salvage two completed paintings of the Lion Bridge, and three other canvases which were salvageable, though they were splattered with assorted paint and garden grime. The grim task completed, he went inside to await the slim possibilities of the next day.
In the morning, he carried his remaining artwork to the Lion Bridge, and set the two extant works against the railings, in the hope of drawing some custom. With no studio to work in, he next took one of spattered canvases and placed it upon an easel. He was just starting to paint a faint outline of one of the lion sentinels onto the canvas when a distinguished looking couple approached.
The hatchet-faced lady picked up one of the completed paintings and held it up to her gentleman companion. The man pulled a face, and the pair both shook their heads disapprovingly. As the man picked up the other work to give it a closer examination, the woman stepped up to Andre’s work in progress.
“Reginald,” she called in a nasally noise, “I think I have found just the piece for above the fireplace in the villa.”