Part of the reason I create collage is because it’s cheap. I tear up old magazines to create images and use boxboard as my canvas. It’s rudimentary, but effective. I’m lucky that paper is in love with glue and glue is head-over-heels about paper.
As I move more towards assemblage and mixed media, I need to pick up a brush and paint, so of course, I chose the cheapest I could lay my hands on – and I’ve really struggled.
The vibrancy of the paint wanes, bristles fall and stick where they’re not meant to be, like an old man’s whiskers in the washbasin. The gluggy, sloppiness of cheap brushes really affects the handling of the paint.
And I only made this discovery yesterday. My tutor, Leeanne Crisp, picked up one of my brushes, put it down immediately and said, “Try one of mine”. It was an imitation sable brush and it worked beautifully. The firmness of the bristles helped me shape the exact licks of paint I wanted, it felt good, it felt right to have the right tools.
I know now that even as we struggle to create our work and make ends meet as artists, there are some things that you’ve got to save for, it’ll reward you again and again and foster your creativity every time you pick up the brush.