Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Some advice on brushes
I received this query today. I am always happy to get questions, as they prompt me on what to write.
Could you tell us what make of brushes you recommend. Also, how do you maintain them and when do you throw them away?
I am not loyal to a single brand of brushes. Lately I have been using the Winsor Newton brushes. I buy them from Jerries Artarama. They have a funny handle that is supposed to counterbalance their weight. It gives them a wasp shape that I am not sure I like, but they are median priced and the quality is excellent. So many of the brushes are made in China now and I have been unhappy with their quality. They seem to develop loose ferrules. That's the metal part that holds the bristles onto the stick part. If it gets wiggly the brush is useless. I have had that problem with brushes from a number of different manufacturers all of whom have their brushes made in China.The exception to this is that I do buy the Creativemark brushes from Jerries, they are Chinese cheapies so I only use the #1 size, it seems like their ferules don't come loose as easily.
I recently bought some Canson bristle brushes that were made in France. The silky hairs in them gave great handling and I think I will try some more of them. I also have been keeping a
# 12 nylon brush in my kit and laying things in with that. I like the softer stroke that makes sometimes.Those brushes tips do seem to explode though. The big ones, just as in the bristle brushes tend to last longer than the small ones.
I don't ever wash brushes. I rinse them out in my thinner and set them aside for the next day. I am sure that shortens their lifespans and I go through a lot of brushes. I get the same number of days out of a brush as its size number. A number four lasts me about four days for instance. If a brush becomes choked with paint or I forget to clean one, I use professional house painters brush cleaner on it. That's a noxious product, best used outside. I also treat brushes with GOOP the mechanics handcleaner. That softens them up when they get stiff.
I throw away lots of brushes as I like them sharp. When they start to wear, out they go. I look at them as Popsicle sticks, disposable.