A Brush with Dearth

A friend spent four dollars on me. Does that sound like a little, or a lot?

He picked over some items at a yard sale and chose a bag of artist’s brushes he thought I might like. Does that sound like a big deal to you? Or not?

So far, we’re talking about small amount of money and work. Let me ask you, how much worth does a little money, or effort bring? Can you make an argument for a high value outcome?

My friend saw the brushes and thought of me. That’s a benefit of friendship. I didn’t send him out to find  brushes. I didn’t tell him, “You owe me.” He didn’t feel that he had to make anything up to me.

A hobbyist needs brushes. There are junk brushes and there are quality types. Junk brushes leave streaky finishes and thick, imprecise applications of paint. Great brushes are balanced instruments, with soft uniform bristles that hold a shape the artist counts on.

I’m a hobbyist who can’t have enough quality tools. My jeweler’s files come from Europe. My Lindstrom cutters have served me since 1990. I use a ¾” flathead brush for a drybrushing technique that transforms scale models for viewers around the world. I tend to wear out my brushes and am in regular need, in order to maintain the work.

I have a dearth of brushes.

The yard sale bag, marked at $4.00, held a dozen various types. One thing that was consistent was the high quality. These brushes were top dollar, when the original owner bought them.

One brush was marked at $26.00. Another, $12.00. The person who bought these from the art supply store spent over $75.00. The brushes were unused. That sad tale is for another time.

My style of painting does not utilize a few of the bristle types. I take advantage by writing an essay about them. I can use the odd brushes to create in a different way, which is an innate drive for artists, wouldn’t you say?

Do you want to know what keeps a person young? We keep young by looking at a wide fan brush and thinking, “I don’t have a use for you with my style of painting, but I’m going to utilize you in another way, to make something entertaining. I’ll write about you, and show your picture. You’ll be part of something that will be read by people around the world.” What better can be done?

How does this type of thinking promote youthful feelings? Children test limits. All adventuresome people do. Testing limits can be adapted to basic mental exercise. If you give your brain the training to range in all directions, the application goes beyond paint and tools. The useless brush has a use.

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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