How important is the quality of materials? Professional quality for beginners? Why could it be important?
THE HEAD GAME – Often while working on a painting I think of my grandmother on my father’s side, who passed at 94 about 20 years ago. She was an artist, who studied art at the university level, which was quite unusual for a woman at that time. She was , I would say a very “modern” woman of her day. My grandmother would often say, “You know, my dear, you get what you pay for!“ For the most part, I would tend to agree with her when it concerns artist supplies. I thought about her when I sent my child to school equipped with the best quality artist-grade colored pencils money could buy in his pencil case. I was more than surprised to be forced to defend that decision in an argument with a teacher who seemed to think that it was o.k. to bring expensive electronic gaming devices, cell phones, and designer sneakers to school, but by giving my child these exclusive colored pencils, I/my child would make the less fortunate student feel left out and sad on my child’s account. Needless to say my child quickly changed schools. To be sure there were other issues regarding this decision, but the thing that sticks with me after all these years about this particular moment and many moments since, is the lack of value placed on early and continued art and music education in the schools. (End of rant detour! 😉 )
There are still questions I ask myself before I can give-in to the notion completely that beginning with the best quality supplies one can afford, is in every case essential or benificial. The most important question for me is „What is my goal?“ If my goal is to enjoy the experience without having to worry about digging too deeply or honing my skills, then I believe that excellent materials will help me spend my limited time well with an acceptable result without major struggles with the intricacies of really knowing immediately what I am doing. Using great art materials from the beginning, perhaps offer a creative kick in the pants, because they are often quite forgiving. I have come to think that the most important part of using “good professional” art supplies even as a beginner, is that success gives us courage to continue and explore. It makes us curious to learn more about the intricacies we might avoid otherwise and not give aid to our primitive urge to drop anything we are not good at doing at the first signs of trouble. After finding the key to open that creative portal, using simpler materials which require practice, skill and endless refinement to achieve the desired result, should perhaps be more palatable. A skilled artist is able to express art on anything from a napkin to a cereal box with limited tools, just as a rehearsed actor can move his audience without scenery, lighting or costume. I am not so bold as to put myself in any such category, but I simply offer my hand at a painting on thinner (treacherous :o) pastel paper with a coarse regular un-sanded texture. The struggle was real!
My process pics… inspiration Artist Karen Margulis.
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Have a nice day!