1. blf says

    Ah, the “WIne Newt”, Salamandridae vinum, famously used to process the grapes méthode luwak. The “eye-stalks” (actually, they are unusually thick whiskers) do look a lot like fine paint brushes, and do regrow after loss. Whilst fairly easy to collect, the whiskers degrade rapidly, and most preservation techniques either damage the “brush”-end or produce a very brittle lump which is hard-to-use and shatters easy. The preferred method then, is to use a live Wine Newt with its whiskers still attached, but this presents two problems (surprisingly, being dunked in paint, turpentine, and so on doesn’t seem to bother them at all, albeit you need to give them a few days rest to flush the gunk out and produce tasty wine grape droppings again): (1) They are slippery and very hard to hold; and (2) They don’t appreciate art and are quite mean and nasty critics. Painting with a squirming slippery brush which incessantly points out poor technique, terrible composition, and bad breath is said to be rather off-putting.

    Oh, and the WMSS (Witches Manual of Stinky Spells) says “Eye of Wine Newt is an inert filler and does nothing for any spell. Some painters are tempted to remove the eyes in an attempt to silence the criticism, and may ask for your assistance as the newts are very uncooperative (payment, of course, being the Eye of Newt). This usually works, as sightless painters usually stop painting, so there is nothing to criticize. The villagers will be thankful (no pesky van Goth trying to cage a drink in return for a painting), and the newt is also quite happy, especially if you leave it in a vat of grapes to do its specialty.”

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