When it comes to art supplies, I can look back and recall each season of life being marked by different artistic tools. When I was a tiny thing my preferred art materials were white paper, crayons, scissors, and staples. From these tools I created a vast array of clothing and accessory items. Apparently, according to my parents, the clothes actually fit. Clearly, I was a creative genius from a young age (sarcasm intended).
When I was in elementary school, I can remember using colored pencils to create my first self-portrait. In high school, there was an upgrade to oil pastels and acrylic paints. When I went off to costume design school, my eyes were opened and my wallet depleted in the discovery of fancy markers, fancy paper, fancy paints, fancy pens, fancy cutting tools, fancy brushes, and fancy pencils. I want to say that I left my first art supply run in college having spent multiple three-digit dollars.
When I studied in Italy my use of tools expanded further with the discovery of oil paints and a love of giant, elaborate canvas pieces. And then a factory- like work ethic came once I was introduced to clay and work on the wheel. Lastly, my education in art therapy exploded all previous tool collections as I was immersed in the materials of print-making, sculpture work, puppetry, book-making and paper arts, and paper decorating, just to name a few.
These days, I have enjoyed the watercolor and pen work for its transportability and ease in cleanup. It helps to keep things simple sometimes… especially in times of great transitions and changes. Plus, I truly do find peace in the fluid brushstrokes and the surprises that arise as the pigments bleed into the paper. At some point, you can look back and acknowledge all the tools you have been given. You can be thankful and also realize and accept that you don’t have to use every tool all at once. In each season, you will be given the tools you truly need.