Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Brushes

I bought more new brushes the other day. I order the Winsor Newton artist's brushes. They are a white hogs bristle, the basic oil painters brush. The English company, Winsor Newton has been around for a long time and produce sound, quality products. These particular brushes have an odd tapered waist like a wasp. I am sure they are supposed to balance better in the hand, but I had no problem with the brushes before and I don't choose theses brushes for that feature. They are a consistent quality brush at a reasonable price. At least online. If I go to the big box craft retailers prices are nuts. I only buy a single brush there in an emergency. I always buy brushes online. I buy brushes regularly and eight or ten of each size at a time. Sometimes I will buy a dozen of each of the smaller sizes. The big brushes last a long time. I can use up a # 1 in a session or two.
The Jerrys online catalogue entry for these is Here.

I want my brushes sharp and new. So I use up a lot of them.There are painters who hold a different brush for each color in their painting. They might have a dozen wet brushes. This spreads the wear out over all of your brushes, just as it might with shoes. But' I only have three brushes when I paint outside, plus a rigger. They are; A #4, a # 1 and a #10, all flats.

When I teach workshops I only see a a few usable brushes. At least half of the students are working with a dried out, worn down brush that wouldn't do the job in practiced hands. I have gone for a look in peoples brush collections and not found a single usable brush. Appalling. You wouldn't try to sweep your kitchen floor with a broom in that condition, a worn out broom is grotesquely inefficient. Lots less hair contacts the floor and it won't cut into corners very well.
A brush is a sort of little broom. It works the same way and if it is worn it won't push the paint around crisply.

The real cost of painting is in your time and travel, brushes are not a real driver of costs, There was a time when Robert Simmonds brushes were the first choice and I will happily use those if I can get a good price on them, usually the WN are cheaper from my sources. The Chi-Com brushes seem to have loose ferrules and other minor quality problems and aren't much cheaper than the WN brushes.


Anthony Sell said...

I've been finding Yasutomo's gold brushes to be a most excellent replacement for my regular riggers and liners. If you need something for lettering, crisp lines, following contours, etc., these may be worth a try. http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/sumi-e-supplies/yasutomo-sumi-e-supplies/yasutomo-sumi-e-brushes/yasutomo-designers-gold-brushes.htm

Jesse said...

I have a hard time getting the right amount of spring in a brush. Some bristles get rock hard, especially if don't baby them. Sables can get too soft at least if you want to push around a lot of paint. I have a precious few brushes that are just right.

stapeliad said...

Stape, maybe you have written on this before but I will still ask... what about hog bristle do you like vs a good synthetic?

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

I like Silver Brush Ltd. brushes, the Grand Prix line. Good quality hog bristle. I prefer the flats; they eventually wear down to filberts, which is the shape I actually prefer. (I get more mileage out of them that way.)

As for worn-out brushes, they're no better than painting with twigs.

Brady said...

Since I don't paint on cloth my brushes last a lot longer. I also keep my worn out brushes around for special effects when I want a stroke that isn't controlled.

A friend gave me a Rosemary and Co. mongoose hair filbert. It's stiffer than a sable and softer than a bristle. I've used it on four paintings and it seems to hold up well. So far I think it's the perfect fit for painting on panels.

If only they weren't all the way from the UK and charged those pesky English pounds.

Journeyman said...

At the moment Rosemary & Co are my favoured brushes, hand made in the UK and a good price. As long as I clean my art brushes well with soap and water they last well. But then some of the brushes I use for painting boats are thirty years old :)


Sergio Lopez said...

Have you used the Rosemary and Co. brushes yet?

Trekell makes a good brush as well

Deborah Paris said...

Love the Rosemary and Co. mongoose brushes- not too hard, not too soft....juuusssst right. And they wear down to a great drybrush brush for underpaintings.

Robert J. Simone said...

I love curling...easily my favorite winter Olympics sport. Not sure why but I am fascinated at how they control the speed of the stones by sweeping and not sweeping.

Oh, yeah, Utrecht series 209 are reasonably priced and serviceable hogs. Also Isabey 6159 is a good mongoose at a reasonable price.

Bob Carter said...

Like everyone else, I've tried just about every brand. I keep coming back to Utrecht 209's, mostly filberts. I like the bristle length of the WN brushes, but that funny handle puts me off a bit. The Rosemary mongoose brushes are fine in small rounds, but the the small filberts act like a mop. Lack of sharpness in small brushes drives me nuts. Utrecht sabelette rounds keep their points about as well as any. Good for branches and signing. Recently I've tried a couple of Princeton's "professional" synthetics (small rounds and #2 filbert), which stay sharp but of course don't have the loading capacity of a good bristle. I got them at a Michael's store for cheap money with their weekly coupons. I think the perfect brush doesn't exist, at least over a long haul.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Anthony Sell ;
I have never tried those. I will look them up.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jesse :
I think of them as popsicle sticks.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There is a whole blog post. Will do it soon.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Michael Chesley Johnson;
I have seen those I wonder what they cost. I like cheap.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I suppose I will break down and buy some of those. I hear about them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I would think of those more as a figure painters or interior painters brush or at the least for small scale more delicate or highly finished painting.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Main Loop;
No, but I have held and looked at one.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deborah Paris ;
You too?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have used a lot of those but not lately, They also make an orange handled half synthetic stick that I used to like.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bob Carter;
I am going to talk about riggers soon too.