|Illustration-in-progress. Hey, where's my printing stuff?|
I'm in full-on paint mode for contract work this week, which feels a little odd. It's been a while since I've had any "brush" to share on Brush and Baren, because it's been weeks since I've had paints on the table and a brush in my hand. A couple of months ago, in the midst of another illustration project, I experienced an astounding revelation:
I quite dislike brushes.
Actually, the word I chose at the time was significantly stronger than "dislike," but since I really do need cooperation from this particular tool at the moment, it seems prudent to call a truce.
My path to image-making has been anything but a straight line (ahem). I didn't set out to be an artist, I set out to be a teacher. Little moments along the way– a nudge here, a pat on the back there– encouraged me to pick up a pencil, then a brush, then etching tools. Even clay and stone. But art was something I would teach, not something I would do full time. Shows you what I knew.
It's interesting to look back and see how a hundred little "insignificant" actions and conversations led me to where I am now. Twenty years ago I started painting because there were learning opportunities available and I took advantage of them... first in oils, then in watercolor. I met other artists– painters all– and hung around with them. I wanted to be them. But while I think of myself as a reasonably competent painter I have never been a comfortable painter. If I want to make a mark I don't automatically reach for a brush. I reach for a pencil. Or a gouge.
It's only in the last 2 or 3 years that I've realized it's okay not to be a painter. I've never been terribly comfortable with calling myself an artist, either (too much baggage attached to the term), but I answer to printmaker as readily as my own name.
Some projects still call for paint, of course, and for some endeavors only a brush will do. It's a nice diversion once in a while, but it's also a helpful reminder of who I really am. I'm a printmaker, and whenever I doubt it all I have to do is pick up a brush to put everything back in perspective.