At my watercolour evening class (3 years ago) the teacher advised us to use good quality paper, paint and brushes. He particularly mentioned sable brushes - wonderful for holding paint and flowing lines etc. he said. I quickly found out that they were priced top of the range...really top.
While in Wheaton (where we once lived) we saw that the art shop is closing down after over 100 years of family ownership. Everything is marked 50% down so I looked at sable brushes. Under lock and key they were originally priced $300-500 plus. The brush I had my eye on was still nearly $240 half price! A week later they had reduced prices again but it was still $180.
The salesman saw us dithering. Carol said she might make it a special birthday gift for me. Then he spoke: 'Honestly, sable brushes are over-rated. I have one and it's nice to use but you can get really good brushes much cheaper. After all, it's the magician's touch with whatever brush they are using that really counts. The brush doesn't do the magic.'
I laughed. Partly because he was doing the shop out of a sale by being very unsalesman-like. But mostly because he is exactly right. It's the artist and measure of their gifting that really matters. That applies to other aspects of life too, doesn't it?