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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tools of the Trade, Part II

It's The Smock

For me that is.  For most of my artist friends, it's the apron.  I really don't understand wearing an apron because I would absolutely ruin the clothing worn underneath.  My pigment loaded brushes get wiped on every part of my smock including the sleeves.  Aprons do not have sleeves.  During a recent demonstration I gave in my studio I was told I even have paint on the back of my smock.  An apron just wouldn't give me the coverage I need.  I am still wondering how the paint got onto the back.

So what is a smock anyway?  If you Google it, you end up with all kinds of info and pictures.  Even a picture of an old Simplicity sewing pattern for number 2436, and those of you who learned to sew in the '50s remember these patterns.   I kind of like this one.

Or you see a fancy jacket type thing with pockets galore, presumably for brushes, pencils, rulers, erasers, tubes of paint.  Looks like this one even has a loop for a rag.  It  probably has a nice price tag too.

I like to re-purpose things, so I select a smock that is actually a very large shirt.  Maybe it's the history from childhood when we were instructed to bring one of our father's old shirts to wear over our clothing during art class that encourages me to wear a big old shirt that I borrowed from my husband's closet.  I have to chuckle about the borrowed part....he won't see that shirt again, and he wouldn't want to, so technically it isn't borrowed.

Look at's a mess, but a colorful mess!  This particular smock has seen a few years of use so the build up of pigment is thick and the shirt is stiff.  I can look at the smock and remember the various palettes used while I have worn this smock. Like a little trip down memory lane.

It was a really nice designer shirt and I can't even remember now if I asked to take it into the studio.  Maybe I accidentally burned it while pressing it and that decided the need to be re-purposed.  I have never been very good with an iron.

So while artists wear a variety of smocks and aprons to protect their clothing, I find a simple old shirt easy and practical.  And you know what?  Even with this big old shirt I can still manage to get paint on the clothing underneath now and then.

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