If you follow me on instagram you know how long this first segment has been in the works. Originally I assumed I would get a few neat stories and maybe a picture or two in response to my post (see here) - but I was blown away by the multitude of thoughtful, heartfelt stories - and I’m still receiving them! I couldn’t simply do one small post and capture the depth, breadth and journey of paintbrush experiences.
So I’m introducing the first of a monthly series: My Brush Stories. Each month I’ll pull a few stories from the collection I’ve been assembling and share them on my blog here, my instagram and other media (still in the works, more information soon!).
So without further ado, here is the first of what I hope will be an exploration into other artist’s practices, their work and how it’s made - starting with our favorite tools.
(To submit yours, head over to the My Brush Story page!)
Katrin Bauck | @katrinbauck
At first glance, there's nothing special about my favorite brush - it's a usual bristle brush, natural wooden handle (light brown), which I think I have bought for my son's school equipment years ago.
When I started painting in 2016 I tried out every brush I could find in our house so also this one went into my toolbox. :-) Immediately I fell in love with the shape and softness of the handle, the broadness of the bristles and their wildness.
In summer 2017 I took a small selection of brushes with me to our family vacation trip to the Baltic Sea, including that brush. After days of lovely laziness, long walks at the beach, collecting shells and stones and taking countless pictures, one afternoon back “home” at the lovely Danish cottage I took out my brushes and was stunned by their beauty, especially by this one’s paint splattered handle.
Inspired, I googled for a lovely quote on brushes and found this one, which is still one of my favorites, by Henry Ward Beecher:
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
I wrote it into my sketchbook and took two pictures, one with the quote and the brush and one just a close-up of the handle (see both attached). And somehow then, in the soft afternoon light in the Danish cottage, I connected that lovely slow summer feeling and that quote with this brush and whenever I hold it now, it inspires me to slow down, to watch for the beauty and when I paint, to dip my brushes in my soul. :-)
Julia Cusworth | @juliacusworth
I have had this thick, flat brush for about 5 years. Once I decided to start pursuing art in my spare time, I delved back into my old supplies from college and university but found myself lacking in the brush department. I ordered a pack of iconic yellow Daler Rowleys and although I love them all, this is my favourite. It creates the most beautiful thick, fat strokes; stripes, swirls and ink splatters. It is bold and obvious - much like my art. It is the brush I reach for first and the one I know I could never replace. It helps guide my work when I don't know where to go next and it understands me. Not breaking or giving up when I don't always wash out the ink or glue but instead developing it's own unique texture, making it even more personal to me.
Sabrina Cottrill | @sabrina.cottrill.art
My brushes are definitely not fancy or expensive and yet I realized a large chunk of my brushes have been with me a really long time. To some of the first ones I purchased back in high school for my first painting class. (Hello early 2000s) To then my college art days picking some up here and there when I could afford. Eyeing up the clearance ones working part time at an art store. They've moved from home to home and I got used to being a new mom and have finally found their way up from the basement and into my studio.
There is just something so magical about seeing into other artist's creative worlds.
Thanks to everyone for sharing the stories thus far, I am so looking forward to sharing more next month in Volume 2.
Have a favorite brush you want to share? Tell me about it in the comments, use the hashtag over on instagram or head over to the page and submit there . Can't wait to read them!