big brushes

snow trail. oil on canvas. 16" x 16"


when i paint small i don't always work with small brushes. i often use a proportionally large brush. not a monumental brush just a brush that's a little bigger than what seems appropriate, something that just crosses the threshold into clumsiness. small brushes are too demanding for me. they seem to say, "be scrupulous with us, paint fine detail with us, make thin and technically impressive lines and shapes, tiny miniscule blobs of masterfully organized detail." that doesn't really interest me. i get a headache working on a pinpoint, my arm and back stiffen up and i end up having to do stretches the next day just to grind the coffee beans and operate my espresso machine. i enjoy fumbling around with things that are slightly awkward, slightly out of control. it forces me to examine my activity in a compelling way - like trying to dial a telephone number with a baseball bat or trying to peel a banana while wearing boxing gloves, a big brush yields unpredictable but exciting results, something always happens that cannot be foreseen. this makes me feel alive, it is exploration and discovery in its most fundamental form.

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