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How to put a big smile on my face

The text message pinged in last Tuesday from a friend of mine saying “Hiya, we have found some oil paints and paraphernalia which was (man’s name) and wondered if you would like to see…”

I replied “Aww thanks for thinking of me, yes I’d love to see whatever it is you’ve found!! xx ”

“Ok, will bring on Saturday” she replied.

And I wondered vaguely what it was she had found, since it had belonged to a good friend of theirs who had died a couple of years ago, and I didn’t even know that he painted not that I had ever met him, so didn’t think much more about it.

You never know with art what the word “Paraphernalia” covers.


When I saw her and her husband on Saturday, she indicated a large shopping bag, and I opened it up wondering what was inside…. she said that it had been in their loft for a while.. and I nodded as I could understand that it would be clutter to her….

Inside the bag I could see …

A small plastic Halfords tool box, some small bottles, a couple of empty jam jars…. a couple of boxes of oil paints, one a make I know, one a make I don’t know..

I took them out, and opened the boxes up. They’d never been opened, the pristine oil paints still in their pristine tubes, in cellophane, in the boxes.

My eyebrows rose fractionally..

I turned to the bottles, linseed oil, turpentine, thinners, masking fluid… all unused… P1080741

My eyebrows rose again…

And then I opened the small plastic tool box…

Half a roll of masking tape, a roll of gummed paper, a small palette, a can of fixative, sponges, pencil sharpener, erasers, many pencils, a load of brushes, a selection of palette knives…

And other than one of the brushes and a couple of the pencils, it looked like none of it had been used at all….

I smiled and looked at my friend and said “This is all stuff that I use………..”

She looked at it, rubbish to her, and of no use whatsoever and mentioned a price. I nodded. And gave her the money. And gave her the large shopping bag back since she will use it.

And took away what was rubbish to her,

and what was artist treasure to me…. P1080740

None of it I would have bought in a shop. I already have brushes, and palette knives, and oil paints, and pencils, and sponges, and linseed oil, and turpentine. But… I will use the new additions, certainly. Intime.

But what did delight me was the absolute pleasure I had in looking at the pencils and holding them… HB, 2B, 5B, 7B, the different palette knives, the selection of colours in the oil paints. Setting them all out on my work desk…. wondering what creative artworks I will create with them..

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