The Wonder Brush & 5 Tips to Paint Brush Health!

In response to my latest blog post on “Lifting Veins” I was asked, ” What kind of brush do you use to lift veins?”  Many botanical artists use the most expensive Kolinsky Sable watercolor brushes they can find.  Sometimes the saying, ” You get what you paid for…….” is appropriate. In this particular case I have to admit that I bought the expensive brushes and found them to be “floppy”. I love to draw and work with colored pencils. I like the stiffness and ease of control I get with a pencil. When I first started to paint I found that the expensive brushes didn’t make me a better painter. I really couldn’t control the brushes. I asked other artists what kind of brushes they used and then would quickly go out and buy what ever they were using to see if I could paint better. I think I could open a watercolor paint brush store! I tried the little tiny brushes that have  2 or 3 eyelash hairs and spent more time trying to get paint on the brush, only to run out of paint almost immediately. So after all the trial and error, I use…….. drum roll please……

CHEAP BRUSHES! The chisel brush that I use is made by Loew Cornell, Comfort Grip #3450 Chisel Brush Size #6. The cost is about $3.50 a brush. I buy them by the dozen. Here is a link to where I buy them: http://tinyurl.com/3okxllc (I do not get a commission)

This is what the brush looks like:

It is nothing fancy but it works like a charm. I never use a dry brush. I dip the brush into clean water before I use it and then wipe it on a paper towel (I only use BOUNTY paper Towels!), pulling it to align all the fibers in the same direction. I use the brush slightly damp and usually on paper/paint that is dry. The brush is gently used above or below the pencil line to lift color. I continue to dip the brush in clean water, wipe and continue lifting. If you don’t wipe off the paint you have just removed, the brush will not be able to lift any more color.

To keep these cheapy (or any brush, cheap or expensive) brushes lasting a long time here are a 5 tips:

1. NEVER LEAVE YOUR BRUSHES IN THE WATER!

2. ALWAYS CLEAN THE BRUSH AFTER YOU USE IT. 

3. ALWAYS WIPE THE BRUSH IN THE DIRECTION OF THE BRISTLES.

4. NEVER PUT THE BRUSH IN YOUR MOUTH! PAINT CAN BE TOXIC.

5. TRAIN ROUND BRUSHES TO KEEP THEIR POINTS BY TWIRLING AND TRAINING THEM INTO A POINT.

I hope this helps you in your search for brushes. Do you have a brush that you really love? Let me know what you use it for and how you like it!

 

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