Darn, I need a new brush. And, that’s how it starts. You notice one tiny bristle veering off to the right when the rest are going left. Before you know it you are on-line guessing at what brush to order. But gee… you could use more flat brushes, or a blender. Then, a new mop brush might be in order. So, you log on to your favorite art store. While you aimlessly order brushes (multiple, because you can’t just order one), you decide it’s probably time to order some paint. Oh yeah – that podcast you listened to suggested a Marine Violet or a Cold Grey. Okay, well, time to paint. Wait! You forgot a new palette knife because yours has a divot in it making random lines. Speaking of palettes, are you going to switch to a limited palette? Then maybe you don’t need all those recommended colors. But you need new solvent. Or wait, are you switching to being solvent free? Then you better get new fancy paper towels…. And so it goes.
You have probably had that conversation with yourself, right? The circular reasoning of keeping up with the Monets. Except it costs a lot of money to be a Monet!
True Story: It’s February in New York, and everything is drab, which reminds me I need more grey palette paper. On Mondays, I attend a weekly figure drawing session. I noticed two artists with the same portable easel. Bummer. I bought my new easel last season. I bought it based on reviews online but didn’t talk to any actual plein air painters. It’s too soon to justify purchasing one like theirs. So instead, I Google “used lightweight plein air easels”. I listen to many art related podcasts like the Creative Pep Talk and the Plein Air Podcast. Often, the host or guest will reference a certain book or author. Before finishing his next sentence, I have already visited Amazon and placed an order!
In the past few months, my investment in supplies has reached its limit. I can’t justify buying another tube or brush. There always seems to be something new, some gadget. Last fall, I bought a brush holder. Sure, it’s handy, but did I need it? And what do I do with all my old stuff? Old brushes, old paint tubes, paintings that will never see the light of day. My studio is getting smaller by the day with my collection of supplies and paintings that were once new and fresh. Now, they sit all crinkled and used. I hate throwing out old tubes of paint. They are like battle scars.
All the new supplies and money spent. For what? The promise? Hope? The next great painting? The maybes? The what ifs? The next big one?
You see, all the gadgets, gimmicks and must-haves won’t make me a great artist. And, what is a great artist, anyway? What will help me advance is hard work and passion. And I have plenty of that! But come on, who doesn’t love a new brush?
Tell me about your “must haves” and buying sprees. Surely, I’m not the only one! And don’t call me Shirley.