We love this clip of abstract expressionist artist Ed Clark describing how he came defy the limitations of the paint brush by painting canvasses laid out on the floor with a push broom, the old-fashioned super-wide broom janitor’s used to wash big swathes of floor. It reminds us of the way ideas can ignite or connect in an instant to yield solutions with mighty effect, like Clark’s remarkably luscious paintings.

When Clark was living in Paris in the 50s, he suddenly wanted a really wide brush to work on a painting because he “wanted to get something”: get an effect, a feeling…

I went in and got the janitor’s broom…it had the width…and I started using it right away…

Clark didn’t question his intuition or his process. He followed them, and what came to him in the moment:

All the colors of the spectrum I use. I don’t do it like a scientist…something that just comes you know. I paint.

Ed Clark: Pink Wave Photo by Mark Blackshear. Courtesy of G.R. NNmadi Gallery.

I’m not thinking then, right? I just improvise right away. I see the pails of color here…you know, like that, and take that broom and sweep through it. The moment I take the broom, that gives a different kind of energy…

But when you get into painting like that you don’t get into something that you understand, right? You just let it go…

Not needing to understand, he let the painting come into being via the sweep of his push broom brush.

And of course while we’re enjoying Clark’s work and big lessons in trust and flow, we began to exploring the many kinds of brushes in the world — including enticing 48-inch push brushes — and envisioning effects they might yield…

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