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brushes. Synthetic or natural or combo????. Much appreciate your thoughts on bristle type

  brushes. Synthetic or natural or combo????. Much appreciate your thoughts on bristle type

Comments

  • Mikep

    i estimate my collection of brushes to be 50/50 pig bristle and synthetic fibre.
    First choice for accurate line or shape detail would be synthetic, but if I need texture, visible brushstrokes or the ability to move big gobs of thick paint, bristle is the answer.

    Synthetic is easier to clean.

    Denis
    MikepmariebJiashenjudith
  • Reviving this post as I have mostly used (and loved) sable and have a significant distaste for bristle.
    I need to order new brushes right away.

    I want strong hairs, but I want the paint to come off the brush, not move paint to the side.

    Any suggestions, not on brand but what types you like the most and why. (maybe I just have really poor quality bristle and I should keep an open mind)

    I've also found I like using much bigger brushes, but some that I have seem to soak up huge amounts of paint and less to the canvas. 
  • I use mostly ox brushes, and they are quite good. I have also cheap fine nail brushes for detail. A large bristle brush for quick covering, and few silicon sculpture stick for moving paint. Sponges, tissues, fingers, metal nails and fine piece of wood are very good sometimes. 
    RenoirSummer
  • I prefer synthetic.
    judith
  • I thought Paul's little comparison was very helpful but now I can't find it.
  • I think Ivory synthetics series from Rosemary are the best, also davinci synthetics are fine. Bristle brushes quality depends on the brand. Rosemary bristle brushes are not too hard and can do the job well. Other brands were so hard that I could only paint my house's walls.

    The rosemary's ebony series are great too and the Davinci 1822 series also :)
  • Richard_P said:
    I prefer synthetic.
    @Richard_P - may I ask what you prefer about it? Pros and cons? 
  • I had some of the "oil painting beginner kit" bristle brushes and never got on with them. They're really scratchy and, as was mentioned above, just push paint around. So, I started using (reasonably priced) synthetics, which worked better. Then the problem was reversed - I started to dislike that super smooth feeling - they seem to actively push me towards blending.

    Having heard from my painting tutor that Chinese bristle brushes were the bees knees, I scoured Aliexpress to find what looked like a reputable maker/brand, and ordered some filberts. The bristle is totally different to the cheap ones I'd been using. As a natural hair, each individual bristle is tapered - they have a stiff shaft near the ferrule, then fade out to a softer, flexible tip. They load up really well and leave paint on the canvas, but there's a definite resistance and spring to them. They're also easy to clean. I like them a lot!

    On the other hand, to me, bristle brushes don't seem to scale across the size range. Down to 5-6mm the diameter of each bristle is appropriate, but below that each bristle feels too thick for the size of brush. So, I still think I'll be using synthetic or sable for finer work that's paint-on-paint, but will go with bristle for larger areas, and certainly for working on gesso.
    Renoir
  • Renoir said:
    Richard_P said:
    I prefer synthetic.
    @Richard_P - may I ask what you prefer about it? Pros and cons? 
    I have Rosemary & Co's Ivory and Eclipse range. Here's the information from their website which sums it up well:

    Synthetic Brushes

    As an overall brush, Synthetics are all fairly easy to clean, withstand a good amount of abuse, and they are relatively inexpensive. It’s also important you should understand that synthetic fibres have come on in leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, like many other man-made products and so they no longer hold the taboo they once had. If you haven’t dared to try synthetics in the past because you thought they were ‘student’ grade, I urge you to reconsider.

    Ivory Synthetics

    These are our most popular synthetic range for Oils. They come in lots of shapes and sizes, and are available on the shorter and longer handles.

    ivory

    The Ivory fibres have been sandblasted with shards of glass, which make them firm, and wear down well. They clean really easily, and last a lot longer than your average synthetics would. The Ivories will be a good work horse for you, and many of the leading artists all over the world consider these their go-to brushes.


    Eclipse Synthetics

    The Eclipse Synthetics are a synthetic mongoose, which is designed to mimic the real thing.

    featured-image

    They have much more spring then their natural companion (the Masters Choice). They are softer than the Ivories, and the Evergreens. This fibre would be ideal for blending and softening work. They are particularly favoured amongst portrait artists too. The Eclipse have been dyed four times to look like the mongoose, and again, the dye does make them feel different than the other synthetics available.

    Mikep
  • I bought the Rosemary Ivories on your recommendation, and have been very happy with them. I need to buy more, including some larger flats. I don't think I will shop around much after using these!
    Renoir
  • Oh now I see why so many like Rosemary & Co.... how does one go about buying them in the States? It doesn't look like Blick's or Jerry's Artarama carry them. 
  • @Renoir you get them by ordering directly online, from Richard's link above.  They ship here.
  • @PaulB ; RE: Cleaning Brushes... I found this on the Rosemary website's FAQ. :::

    Brushes and Products

    • How do I look after my new natural hair brushes when they arrive?

    • Brush Cleaning for Ivory & Classic Ranges

      After extensive research in our lab, we have found that the brand ‘Gamsol’ or White Spirits are not the best way to clean our Ivory or Classic ranges. There seems to be some sort of chemical within those two particular products that can at times make those ranges ‘splay’ and or ‘curl’ at the end. If you have been using those products with those ranges and not experienced these problems, please continue as you have done in the past. We recommend alternatives which include (but are not limited to):

      Zest It Oil Paint and Dillutant

      Link: https://www.rosemaryandco.com/bits-pieces/zest-it/zest-it-dilutant-cleaner

      Info: It’s an environmentally friendly, non-flammable, non-toxic, biodegradable, alternative to ‘turps’ and white spirit, made from the zest of citrus fruit for cleaning brushes and thinning paint.

      Winsor & Newton Sansodor Low Odour Solvent

      Info: a highly refined odorless mineral spirit that is used to dilute (thin) artists’ oil paints and is also used to dilute oil media (linseed oils, alkyd media, etc).

      Sansodor

      Odorless Turpenoid

      Lavender Brush Cleaner

      Link: http://chelseaclassicalstudiofineartmaterials.com/portfolio/ccs-lavender-brush-cleaner/

      Walnut Oil

      Link: https://www.rosemaryandco.com/bits-pieces/michael-harding

      Alternatively many of the essential oils also make great brush cleaning solvents. Lavender oil is actually a stronger solvent than turpentine. Walnut oil is good for cleaning brushes while painting. Final cleaning however should be done with soap and water.


  • PaulB said:
    I dislike bristle because it's like painting with a bouquet of twigs.

    Sable is the softest, and leaves no brush marks, even if you try.  I like the Ivory synthetic.  Definitely not as soft as Sable, but nowhere near bristle.  Can leave brush marks.
    @PaulB I am also getting frustrated with bristles. If I am doing layered work, I will go for synthetic sables for the top layers for a cleaner look to my paintings. When I paint with white in the upper layers with bristle brushes, I get a very rough surface, which I hate. I want a smooth surface that can only be created by softer brushes. I guess this will change the way I paint and how my paintings look like. Gone are the days of impasto

    For alla prima or outdoor, I will continue to use bristles. if some surface needs smoothing, I will use a soft brush.
    PaulBRenoir
  • @Observer
    Having heard from my painting tutor that Chinese bristle brushes were the bees knees, I scoured Aliexpress to find what looked like a reputable maker/brand, and ordered some filberts. The bristle is totally different to the cheap ones I'd been using. As a natural hair, each individual bristle is tapered - they have a stiff shaft near the ferrule, then fade out to a softer, flexible tip. They load up really well and leave paint on the canvas, but there's a definite resistance and spring to them. They're also easy to clean. I like them a lot!

    I similarly bought some brushes in Tibet that they use to do Tangkas...a lot of fine detail work...like the chinese and possibly ARE chinese..natural hair and pointed easy to use and clean

    my favorite brushes are a half dozen that came with a cheap kids set...they are so smooth and small
    KaustavRenoir
  • I’ve just started using a Rosemary&Co Masters choice set- softer than the Ivory range, natural hair. I’m using them on a double portrait, painting quite thinly on a wood panel. Finding them pretty good.
    KaustavRenoirBOB73
  • I love the lavender soap for cleaning brushes. It really reconditions them well. Just ordered 3 from jerry to even out the exhorbinate shipping costs then I found out the Sydney art store carries it now. Whoopee !
  • You guys have convinced me to buy Rosemary brushes but I've already purchased enough in other brands for a decade or more. Nevertheless I will do my utmost to abuse and ruin as many as I can and maybe in a year I will be justified in replacing a few with Rosemary's. but which group? ivory? evergreen? ebony? I don't like short handles.
  • You can get them on short or long handles. Ivory I guess are like Hog Bristles, where Eclipse are more like mongoose. Evergreen are slightly softer than Ivory. Not sure about ebony ones.
    BOB73
  • Has anyone tried importing rosemary hog bristles to Australia?  I have been having trouble getting natural hair brushes here fro Jerry’s artarama and I’m wondering if I would have the same trouble with them.
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