Lately I’ve been spending time on the WetCavas forum, which is a space for artists and hobbyists from around the world to discuss all things art related. Specifically, I’ve been reading the often hilarious ‘paint addicts’ posts, which go a way to making me feel a little better about my little ‘problem’.
So here’s the thing: I love art supplies. Like, beyond art and art-making. I love the tubes and the labels and the pretty packaging and the smell of linseed oil. I also love the idea of art supplies; that a soft pastel is basically a happy square of almost pure pigment, and that through it I can explore whole new worlds. So, it’s not really a surprise to anyone who knows me when I rock up with yet another purchase of paint, a block of paper, or a brush of some sort. It’s sort of a known fact now: ‘Lamice can open up an art store with her art stuff if she wished to’.
In saying that, I’m also very self-aware, and I often take the time to dissect my behaviours- especially ones that could perhaps lead to problems. That’s why I’ve been seeking out other artists to compare myself to, and to determine just how common this insanity is.
Well, it turns out it’s like, a super common behaviour of many, many artists. But, I did realize something obvious through my exploration: It isn’t hoarding if you’re using the stuff you’re buying. And yeah, I use my supplies. Constantly. If I’m home, chances are I’m in my studio working on some piece of art. Do I have enough waterpaint to probably last me for the next decade? Sure, but I’m not buying them to look at them in all their perfect unused glory, and that’s what makes all the difference.
What I am, is an experimenter. Literally. I’m a scientist, and it’s not possible to be one without curiosity. I’ve collected ten different shades of white oil paint mixtures because I’m curious about how they behave. It isn’t enough to simply read what someone else is telling me about them- I want to try them for myself. I forgot about that bit of me when I started questioning my behaviour…I think that to not experiment would actually be more worrying because that wouldn’t be me.
So where am I going with all this? I guess it’s to say that if you’re in my shoes, don’t worry about it. If you also want to determine for yourself if pigment PY42 behaved the same way across 10 different brands of oil paint, then go nuts. Just make sure you’re not using your rent money on art supplies. Thankfully, I’m not at that level of curiosity yet!