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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The All Important Brush

All of my brushes tell a story. They come from different parts of the world. . . and I was there.

You have to hold them just right, you have to slow down your stroke, you have to mix the pigment-to-binder-to-water just so. The style of painting is called Delft in Holland, Faience in France and Maiolica in Italy.

Of all the brushes I own, these 2 brushes are the most special. The brush on the right was given to me by the artist Alberto Lunghini of Ferrara, Italy. If you join the locals on their evening Passeggiata you will go right by his beautiful shop.

The brush on the left was a gift from the head painter of a company in Holland. The company has been making hand painted tiles since 1594, which ranks it amongst one of the oldest companies in the world.

While at the factory, I noticed that each painter worked with a slightly different, although similar, brush. You can't buy this brush. It is made by each painter. And this is how:

You befriend your butcher. If he likes you, he will give you the ear from an ox. You can then pull out a few hairs from the ear, then find a whole bunch of hair from a sable and then you have to figure out how to attach all of this hair to a handle. Or you can wrestle your cat for his newly caught mouse and proceed as above. Now you know why that particular brush is so special.

My father taught me how to take care of a fine brush. These brushes should last me for the rest of my life. I won't have to make friends with the butcher (unless I want to) and I don't have to steal a mouse from Stanley, my cat.



  1. I didn't know any of this, Gina. Especially, the ear from an ox part!

  2. Francesca, I didn't either until I was told. Isn't Life full of wonderful surprises!