Sketching with Steel

Steel Wool is a very expensive tool to paint with.

You can get a pack of 3 for around 15sek at your local store, but when you condiser that each one is essentially unwashable and thus really can’t be re-used - things add up. I’ve made attempts this past couple of months to find ways of using the scraping and sanding qualities of this somewhat common kitchen item. Most times the results are a bit blasé, other times I feel as if a small miracle has just occurred and I'm really onto something. Either way, it’s status in my studio is still up for question. It's not the money though that I struggle with.


Today I’ve taken an older, unfinished painting and began sketching over it with a thin layer of oil. Initially brushed on, I quickly moved to the steel wool. It has a way of revealing the under layers in these thin clear lines you just can’t get with brushes and it's these results I'm after. They're at the very least interesting and at the most fascinating. So far though, the results, unsuccessful.

Any tool of course, even the modest wooden spoon can be be used to great effect given time. While I'm not in a rush I'm not sure I've enough time to discover it's secrets. I hate gimmicks, especially if one uses them rather heavy-handedly to create an expected result. It's in this, that I find the duality of this tool. Most times things look 'expected.' Occasionally though, there are moments. I've only got so many years in this body and I'm wondering if it'll take me the rest of what I've left to find out just what is the secret to painting with steel.