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Painting with Carol » brushes
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Painting with Carol

Techniques, tips and tricks for watercolours and acrylics

Caring for your brushes

February 19th, 2008 | Category: Art supplies and equipment

Caring for your brushes is so important. I am still using brushes that I bought ten years ago simply because I look after them.

It is important that you only ever use your watercolour brushes for watercolours. Make sure that your brushes are cleaned properly after you have finished painting. Rinse them in clean water, preferably under a running tap. If you are washing them in a container of clean water, make sure that you are gentle and don’t hit the ferrule (the metal ring at the end of the brush) or you are likely to break off the hairs. Squeeze the water from the brush, making sure you shape the hairs back into a point. If you find the paint is difficult to remove, try using Jo Sonja’s Brush Soap and Conditioner. I find it the best but you could also use a cake of soap. When carrying brushes from place to place, roll them carefully in a tea towel or something similar. I have a paint brush roll that I bought from The Art Scene but you can buy similar products from other art supply stores.

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Brushes

February 16th, 2008 | Category: Art supplies and equipment, Painting techniques

Whether you subscribe to the thinking “you are only as good as your tools” or “a good workman never blames his tools” one thing is certain: a good quality brush will make your life sooo much easier.

Unfortunately, good brushes cost a lot. I mostly use Raphael, a large round sable brush that can cost hundreds of dollars. When I teach at workshops, as I have done for many years, I am asked for a list of requirements for the students to buy, and I often don’t include it in the list as I know, for first time painters, the cost of brushes would be just too expensive. But cheap brushes just won’t hold the paint and you will also find it is difficult for a cheap brush to also hold its ‘point’. So why not ask a loved one for a brush for a birthday present?

The brushes I most often use are:

  • Raphael round brushes - No.7, No.4, No.3
  • I also use a squirrel mix oval wash brush for my washes

…all of which I buy from Art Basics.

If you are on a budget as most of us are, you could try Rekab - a specially designed blend of pure sable hair and synthetic. The blend ensures a strong tip which is ideal for detail work. There are also many other cheaper watercolour brushes around, choices include brushes that are made from other animal hair or synthetic. Most art suppliers will recommend watercolour brushes for you to use.

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