The Tools of the Masters

Staring down at the old and almost colourless water colour paints in the glass case, I was moved by their timeworn appearance and history. They belonged to the great English artist JMW Turner and there I was, actually looking at them.

There’s something wonderfully magical about standing close to and looking down at the tools of a famous artist, or writer for that matter. I think these tools hold within themselves something of the mystery of the person’s genius and exquisite talent. To think that you are actually seeing the very objects used by those masterful fingers guided by a beauty of mind, heart and vision, can be quite overwhelming.

I looked up at Turner’s magnificent water colour sketches hanging on the walls of the hall and couldn’t help but wonder how much of the paint spilt all over that aged pallet, was used in those very sketches.

Later, I left the Tate Britain  inspired and with new vigour.


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Art, Beauty, Contemplation, inspiration, Paintings J M W Turner and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The Tools of the Masters

  1. Don, I was right there with you, in awe, appreciating the “tools”–both tangible and cerebral–that combined to create this art. Excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hariod Brawn says:

    I’ll always remember the first time I visited The National Gallery, Don. I was utterly transfixed by Bellini’s Madonna of the Meadow, even though I’m not, and nor have I ever have been, religiously inclined. I couldn’t move away from it for twenty minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don says:

      Hariod, I’m sorry, it was the Tate Britain, not the National Gallery. Not sure why I said the National Gallery, but I know the painting you described. Absolutely magnificent.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    That must have been a wonderful feeling. I remembering touring a textile mill museum and looking at the tool box of the mill engineer. I could barley imagine what some of the tools were for, but it was fascinating to think about it. To see the paints and the paintings had to be a special thrill.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Val Boyko says:

    Very real inspiration indeed 💛


  5. The tools are the extension of the hand that guides them. You know this well as a talented artist. I’m glad you were inspired Don!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A very movin post, Don. I felt quite similar once when I was able to see a pen used by a Polish writer I really admire. You were able to express something very subtle and powerful in your post today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kathy says:

    You’ve hit a nerve with your sensitive and beautiful description. I thought of my father’s Winsor & Newton ceramic palette with its 5 rectangular and 5 circular impressions, so cold to the touch. I knew it from childhood. After he died it became my treasured link with him as I paint. Under the palette are his experiments with paint and adhesive, spirals of colour made with toothpicks, I think, for the antiques he restored. The mystery of the deep connection you speak of is indeed overwhelming.


    • Don says:

      Thank you Kathy for that wonderful description of your Father’s palette. Love the idea of his little experiments under the palette. Makes it even more personal . As you say the connection is a mystery, yet profoundly real. Again, thank you for sharing a wonderful comment.


  8. Mary says:

    I felt the inspiration through your words Don – isn’t it amazing to be able to stand in the spot where an incredibly talent artist once worked and to see his tools. There is something very special and much appreciated as an artist – how very cool it must have been for you.


  9. ladyfi says:

    Turner’s paintings are magical!


  10. It is indeed inspiring to think of the hands that held those tools and created such beauty that endures today. My Dad was a writer and I have his manuscript, with his notes around it and all in his own handwriting which is very beautiful. I think you may have inspired a post for me! Thank you. 🙂


    • Don says:

      What a gift those notes and manuscript must be for you Sally. I can imagine something of how you must feel when you see and handle them. So glad you found a bit of inspiration in the post.

      Liked by 1 person

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