Something happened three years ago. My hands got dry and crusty, my back hurt, I started getting carpal tunnel in my right arm, and I loved every minute of it. That was because I had quit my desk job and become a full time artist. Now, instead of my butt permanently molding to an office chair, I got to MOVE all day and was happy to trade any office perks for a life of constant paint crusted, un-manicured hands. My job hazards had changed and I couldn't be happier. I also traded in my office supplies for different tools and attire. My wedges had to go ( I tried painting in them a few times, but, well, I'm sure you can imagine how that worked out. Ahhh vanity... :) ) and were replaced with the dreaded tennis shoes because my feet and back were killing me. Pens became brushes and paper became canvas. Computer work became blogging, marketing, accounting, and keeping up with orders. My hours went from 9-5 to 7-3 or 11- 10 or 8-4 depending on what the day held. When I think of my days now, I can't imagine living without these tools, my buddies, the items that shape my day and help grow me and my work.
My favorite tools of the trade.
1.) My 6" x 6" mini canvases and palette knives. I set up these little canvases at my easel or on my work table and let the ADD kick in and go to town painting on 6 or 10 at a time. They allow my brain to work on a form of post-it notes- small chunks of ideas going on to each canvas as inspiration hits and working each one in parts until beautiful compositions come together. I noticed massive growth in my work when I moved to this system. It fits how my brain spits out info and ideas and it makes me really happy and the best part? I get to make the rules now! It's an odd transition and I forget sometimes that there really are no rules in this profession and it's liberating. As neurotic as they are, these "rules" work for me, and I like it! Those palette knives? Man, they are great! I'm working towards adding more huge chunks of paint into paintings- get ready, palette knives are coming out!
2. ) My over-sized toothpaste squeezer! Do you know how giddy I get when I use this thing? Artists out there, can you see how flat this squeezer gets that tube? I was getting so frustrated at how much paint was getting stuck in the tube and how much I was throwing away. I literally googled "industrial paint tube squeezer" and found this bad boy on Amazon. I use it every day and my heart sings to the tune of dollars in the bank instead of out.
3.) My paint splattered easels. A messy easel is a happy easel. If it's clean, you haven't put in enough hours on it yet. David got this in college for Christmas one year when his mom found a sale at Michaels. I inherited it when he moved to watercolors and I started painting big. This little lady and I have laughed, cried, danced, and stomped, (maybe a little cussing) together for several years now and she recently got a new friend when the big arse easels went on sale this spring. I use them to set big pieces on when working on a series or a pair for a client. I can't quit you two. I just can't.
4.) Brush babies. It is absolutely amazing how attached one crazy artist can get to her brushes. Do I have favorites? Yes, I do (don't tell the other brushes). I have so many and I find myself using the same 10 over and over. It's hard to find ones that have the perfect ratio of brush length to brush hair and bristle flexibility or any other dorky quality we look for in our brushes. These are probably the most personal art supply I have and if someone robs us, take the tv, please don't take my brushes...