2 comments on “Painting – a few random thoughts

  1. Very interesting. Is it the same with your kind of painting, that a brush can make all the difference? When I began varnishing I used badger for my final coats, and they did very well. Later I moved to sable artists’ brushes for detail work, and now I’ve found some hand-made brushes from New England that are just a dream (and priced accordingly). They’re made of ox-ear hairs (who knew?) which are even finer than badger. I was told that it takes ten ox-ear hairs to make up one badger hair. Can’t attest to the truth of that.

    What I do know is that my first day with those brushes I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It made an immediate difference in my work – that varnish flowed like liquid silk.

    Anyway – it put me in mind of that old saying about “it’s a poor worker blames the tools”. Sometimes it’s only fair to give credit to the tools, too!

  2. Yes indeed. Even to a would-be painter of my limited experience some brushes are clearly better than others. Mind you, much depends on the consistency of the paint, which can be varied by the painter as required. I also use sable watercolour brushes for very fine details, and well-worn sables are often useful for blending paint where there is a gradual transition between dark and light areas in a picture.
    And though I am happy with my brushes I daresay there are superior products to be had but I neither need them nor can I justify the superior prices as yet.
    Although a skilled person can do great work with mediocre tools, superior tools which are well maintained undoubtedly make the job easier and help to produce a better result.
    Sometimes I wish I could draw cartoons. As I have been writing this I have been wondering how difficult it is to make brushes by hand – but I must be in a silly mood because I keep getting a mental picture of a traditionally attired artist (you know what I mean, beard, smock, floppy hat etc.) with scissors in hand, being hotly pursued across a field by an irate ox.
    I think I need more coffee.

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