Tools! Papers, mediums, paints, collage pieces. Brushes, scissors, glazes, rulers, stencils, rags. Do you spend time slavering over artist supply catalogs? Do you know the inventory of your local art store better than the employees?
Karina Nishi Marcus and I often joke “If I just bought the right brush, I could solve the problem in this painting!” All it takes is that one enchanted brush, or a new, magic color, which would make it all better. We always think that the right tool, invariably a NEW one, will make all the difference. I’m guilty as charged. I bought a sander yesterday. I do like power tools.
This brings us into shopping, not artmaking. I have noticed that the more I shop for supplies, the less I make art. As soon as I start making art daily, my cravings for art tools and materials subsides. Does this sound familiar? Dive into what you have, with one caveat: throw old, gummy, sticky, smudgy stuff away. No, you won’t use that flyspecked paper. No, that garage sale frame just won’t cut it. Free yourself from the worn and cheap. You won’t use the student-grade paint. I made this one up: Paint is only wasted if it’s in the tube. Squeeze it out liberally and use it up!
What’s your most-used tool? Your most unusual tool? Your most desired tool or materials, the ones you want from the art catalog? How about virtual tools? I’ll talk about my tools in the comments section later, because, right now, I’m painting. And after all that, remember to use what you got, already.