How to economize on Oil Painting Tools
There is a false implication in the saying that “a poor workman blames his tools.” It is not true that a good workman can do good work with bad tools. On the contrary, the good workman sees to it that he has good tools, and makes it a part of his good workmanship that they are in good condition.
In painting there is nothing that will cause you more trouble than bad materials. You can get along with few materials, but you cannot get along with bad ones. That is not the place to economize. To do good work is difficult at best. Economize where it will not be a hindrance to you. Your tools can make your work harder or easier according to your selection of them. The relative cost of good and bad materials is of slight importance compared with the relative effect on your work.
The way to economize is not to get anything which you do not need. Save on the non-essentials, and get as good a quality as you can of the essentials.
Save on the number of things you get, not on the quantity you use. You must feel free in your use of material. There is nothing which hampers you more than parsimony in the use of things needful to your painting. If it is worth your while to paint at all, it is worth your while to be generous enough with yourself to insure ordinary freedom of use of material.
The essentials of painting are few, but these cannot be dispensed with. Put it out of your mind that any one of these five things can be got along without:—
You must have something to paint on, canvas or panel. Have plenty of these.
You must have something to set this canvas on—something to hold it up and in position. Your knees won’t do, and you can’t hold it in one hand. The lack of a practical easel will cost you far more in trouble and discouragement than the saving will make up for.
You must have something to paint with. The brushes are most important; in kind, variety, and number. You cannot economize safely here.
You must have paints. And you must have good ones. The best are none too good. Get the best. Pay a good price for them, use them freely, but don’t waste them.
And you must have something to hold them, and to mix them on; but here the quality and kind has less effect on your work than any other of your tools. But as the cost of the best of palettes is slight, you may as well get a good one.
Now, if you will be economical, the way to do it is to take proper care of your tools after you have got them. Form the habit of using good tools as they should be used, and that will save you a great deal of money.
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