Monday, April 26, 2010

tools and palm trees

This palm tree, planted in this pot just a year ago, is thriving, as if it had, in that time, created a small stage for itself. In Upstate New York, there weren't any (real) palm trees, but here, in California, they live everywhere: along congested highways, in vacant lots, along what was once a grand avenue where there once was a grand house.  In movies, characters casually drive through lovely neighborhoods with rows of tall palm trees on each side. Always there. Palm trees don't seem to want anything.

I always wanted "things"; I still do, even though I am trying to get better!  I used to look at the photos of famous painters in their studios and for years I wasn't envious of the sliding barn doors or the big metal tables or the wealth of rolled canvas. I used to look at the brushes.  I remember an article that pictured Jasper Johns next to several coffee cans filled with bright, white, shiny-bristled, apparently un-used brushes. It made me wonder--- where were the workhorse brushes? The favorites? Like these two of mine, which I wash and clean all the time, I swear:
Where were the brushes Johns used the day before, and the day before that?

I have a few sturdy brushes, but I am always looking for supplemental brushes that will last. I bought an inexpensive brush the other day, to try something with an angle. I have been painting 21 years and I had never tried this style:
This brush was terrific! It managed peculiar little crevices and different amounts of paint easily. And I realize, now that I look at it, that it is really just a small version of a house-painter's brush.  Some of my best brushes come from hardware stores.... and now I have new possibilities, the next time I want to feel like Jasper Johns.

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