Archive for April 13th, 2015

There were some folks at the Gallery Talk the other day who told me that they were either signed up for or were planning to attend the two-day workshop I will be giving in September in the beautiful Finger Lakes.  I was really pleased to hear this and the fact that they were eager for the experience.  I told them I was a bit excited myself as this is the first time I’ve tried my hand at teaching but that I would  give them a real behind-the-scenes look at my process.  I promised that I would make it entertaining and that they will hopefully walk away with new ideas about how they use their materials and look at their own work.

Thinking about that this morning led me to consider what materials would be required for the workshop and the first thing that came to mind was my 1″ squirrel mop, a brush that is always near me when I am at my wet work.  This reminded me of a bog post back in 2009 where I wrote about my brushes and the Good Soldiers they are for me, sacrificing themselves for the good of a painting.  There’s a before and after photo that shows their sacrifice.

Thought I would share that post today:

GC Myers-brushesI was looking at the brush in my hand the other day and I realized how rough I am sometimes on my brushes.  It was a natural bristle brush that was new just a few weeks ago, when it looked like the brush to the far left in the photo.

Over those few weeks, I caressed paint on to canvas.  I also pushed paint into the canvas.  I ground the paint against the canvas, using a lot of force, to almost burnish the surface.  I stroked.  I poked.  And when I looked down the brush had turned into that poor guy shown second from the left.

I can be rough on my brushes.

For my normal wet technique I use a natural hair squirrel mop like the two shown on the right.  It’s a big, soft brush that holds a lot of paint and is a staple in my studio.  The brush on the left is new and the one on the right is obviously not.  This erosion of the bristles shown here represents about 6 or 7 months of use.

Hard use.

I like the way the bristles whittled themselves down to the angle my hand takes when I normally strike the painting surface.  Unfortunately, it has eroded to a point where its capacity to hold paint makes it a hindrance to my technique.  So he is put aside and maybe I will find a use for him at some point, so I keep him with my other spent brushes.  I could never throw such  loyal workers to the trash heap.

I have amassed quite a number of brushes, both well used and brand new, over the years.  I have tiny detail brushes that I go through quickly.  I have  some cheapy brushes that work perfectly well for certain techniques.  I have some of my favorite medium priced brushes that I have stockpiled because they’re no longer made.  I also have some pretty expensive brushes.  I have a set of beautiful Winsor & Newton Series 7  brushes that are handmade with soft, luxurious Kolinsky sable.  I’ve had them for about 13 years and have only used one or two of them for a few minutes.  They’re lovely in the hand but I never felt comfortable with them and just wouldn’t feel right grinding them roughly into the surface.

So they sit and wait for a day when I’m ready to put them in the game.

Maybe today?  Maybe… but probably not.

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