Plumbers have their wrenches, carpenters have their hammers ... and artists have their brushes, right? Well, yes and no. Today most artists choose from a multitude of art-making tools in their studio.
Brushes may be part of the selection - large, small, thick, thin, finely tapered or wedge-shaped, brushes of all shapes and sizes. I certainly have a varied assortment of brushes in my own studio, some brand new, others worn and showing the wear of time. Many are old, tried and true ... brushes that feel like an extension of my hand, old friends I turn to again and again.
But that's only a part of the artist's toolbox. You might also find things like spray-guns, squeegees, scraping edges, palette knives of all shapes and sizes and any number of mark-making tools. I often use my hands, a rag, or spray, splatter or drop paint onto the canvas. Other artists also use technological tools like projectors and computer programs to further explore and push the idea of art. The tools and methods are as varied as the creativity and imagination of each artist.
Of course, each artist's skill and experience determines how each tool is ultimately used and what type of art is created. Therein lies the fun, the challenge, and the surprise of original art. Look closely and wonder. How did the artist do that?
Blank canvas. White and clean and waiting in the studio. Nothing better. Nothing more exciting. From the first decision on intent and direction, the first choice of colour, the process of making art is full of questions and choices and revelations. Good stuff.
A New Year of fresh canvas lies ahead, ready for inspiration. As an artist, the process of making art holds the greatest satisfaction for me. It is how I think about and respond to life, and how I contribute to this time and place. If I had no canvas, I would draw on paper, or doodle on envelopes or scratch in the sand. I need to create.
My next body of work has begun in preparation for a new exhibit in June. New ideas and perspectives I will explore and then share. Happy New Year.
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art