The Art of Listening to your Tools

Visual art is a result of the conversations we have with our tools. An insight into developing that skill.

Visual art is a result of the conversations we have with our tools. They have character and a personality of their own. Sounds strange but it really is true. For example, not all 6B pencils sketches draw the same lines. Not every fountain pen delivers ink on paper the same way. Similarly, not every #6 filbert brush or any other similar sized brush paints the same way.

Tools talk. Their personality also changes. As we use a brush it grows or rather depletes and how it behaves changes. As artists it is our responsibility to pay them the same respect, we give our lasting relationships. We can do that by doing 2 things. 1) Spend dedicated time with them. Get to know them. More often you meet, the better.

2) Listen to them. Why? Because listening is the key to good communication and good communication results in satisfying relationships.

Listen to your tools like a good friend. What is it saying? Should I hold it at the tip. Is it time to swirl it now? Is that paint we lifted too heavy for it to handle. Is the ink I’m using too heavy for this pen. Is the another way to sharpen this pencil?

The communication is sensitive and needs our attention and focus. The result is trust and a lasting friendship. Be it a pencil, a pen or a brush when we understand it, we will know when it delivers the stroke we want, where we want it and with the right strength.

Categories: art and connections, art and the joy of connection, painting lessons