In our new weekly feature we ask artists to describe the one item that they couldn't do without. Here, French painter Fabienne Verdier discusses her large-scale, horsetail paintbrush.

The longer I paint the more I realize that every line, force and organism on Earth, by obeying the essential laws of gravity, is in fact in constant transformation. As a painter I try to suggest on the canvas not a fixed image, but a succession of movements. I even set up my studio to continue exploring how the vertical flow of pigment mixed with liquid can capture a form in motion.

How could I paint in an uninterrupted gesture without stopping to recharge my brush? I began experimenting with increasing the capacity and later the size of my brushes, then quickly understood I would also need to compensate for the heavy weight they carried when loaded with ink. I cut off the brush handles, installing a system of pulleys and a steering mechanism composed of handlebars that would allow the brush to be guided using two hands, giving me even more liberty in my movement atop the canvas.

My interest in showing successive states of transformation, suggesting both the power of the origin and a projection, drives my work.

Fabienne Verdier in her Paris studio
Photography by Benjamin McMahon
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