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Your Experience with Brushes?

PaulBPaulB -
edited March 24 in Studio & Supplies
At @Boudicca's suggestion, this is lifted out of another thread, to create a separate discussion about experience with brushes.  Blame her.


Rigger Brushes

I like rigger brushes, but I don't like real bristles, and I will only buy synthetics.  That said, I did inadvertently buy real fibres in the past, and have used a sable blend for a year now.  I love it, but that's not good enough.  Which synthetic will I use?

I bought three synthetic fibre rigger brushes, all Rosemary & Co, all size 0, to see which one will be my new favorite.  Here they are:



From top to bottom:

Sable Blend (real + synthetic)

This is my old faithful, still performing well after more than a year of use.  The initial use was hard on the brush, and it lost a lot of bristles early on, but has now stabilized.  For the first few months, it got washed in turpentine several times a day.   Now it just gets brush dip and a wipe.  The brush dip gradually restored its shape.  If currently is a bit ragged at the tip, probably a sign of age, but the overall softness is great for blending or getting an even, thin layer of paint.  The brush is soft enough to allow me to mix paint.  This one is the benchmark against which I will judge the others.

Eclipse (synthetic)

This is a synthetic mongoose, which looks like a blend of different bristles.  It's very soft, although there are some stiffer bristles in there.  The result is quite pleasing, and the closest in feel to the Sable blend.  I thought after using this one that it would be my preferred brush because of how close it is to the Sable blend.  Nope.

Evergreen (synthetic)

The evergreen is uniformly stiff, meaning the fibres are all the same, but it's soft enough to allow paint mixing.  You cannot mash it into the palette, it resists bending the bristles.  What this means is that if you press hard on the palette, it can flick paint.  It's soft enough to allow me to get good paint coverage, but stiff enough to retain brush shape.  This one is my favorite.

Ivory (synthetic)

The ivory has the stiffest bristles, which are great for putting paint into a tight spot, and having the brush retain its shape, but it's too stiff to use for mixing paint.  This one flicks paint also.  It is a bit too close to actually being a stick.  Ivory bristles are incompatible with Gamsol, which is something I read ... somewhere.


There is one more synthetic I have not tried, which is Shiraz.  I must have missed that one, but it's on order now.  I find it interesting that even among rigger brushes, the different fibres make the behavior quite different.
BoudiccaRenoirJulianna

Comments

  • edited March 24
    Sorry to be a pain @PaulB, but can you retitle the thread to be something like- Your Expeience with brushes? (Not really sorry  :)) other wise peeps might think it’s just about riggers
    PaulBJuliannaKaustav
  • Boudicca said:
    Sorry to be a pain @PaulB, but can you retitle the thread to be something like- Your Expeience with brushes? (Not really sorry  :)) other wise peeps might think it’s just about riggers
    Good point.  But to me, the rigger is still the one true brush...  :)
    BoudiccaRenoirJuliannamarieb
  • My main brushes are from Rosemary & Co.

    The brushes I bought were a large selection of the Ivory series, a synthetic bristle:

    Filberts- including a couple of whoppers for getting big areas in quickly.
    Long Filberts- in sizes 2,4,6,8-use these the most
    Small Rounds for detail. 
    Flats - I rarely use
    Riggers-useful for creating long fine lines assisted by a mahl stick.
    A couple of Egberts - which are like extra long filberts and I haven’t yet full explored their capabilities.
    Daggers -sizes now unreadable (the only complaint I have about Rosemary brushes is the writing on the handle of the brush comes off easily) a very versatile brush.


    From left to right- filbert, long filbert, Egbert 


     I really like them. Smooth, good control, feel good in the hand. Compared to my other brushes (W&N, Art Spectrum, West Art, Princeton), so much better and a pleasure to use. I have used the long filberts the most so far and they are excellent. I am very pleased I bought these and found the company offered excellent customer service. There was a delay in the delivery, and I emailed the company who were very prompt in their response and very helpful. The delay ended up being caused by Australia Post, and I would have to say Rosemary and co were a lot more helpful from 10,000 miles away than my local PO.

    I have tried other brushes and not been happy- the issue usually being around quality- snapping, hair loss, losing shape (sounds like menopause lol)

    During a painting I use the brush dip and part of the ritual of finishing a painting is doing a studio cleanup at the end which includes giving the brushes a clean with The Masters brush cleaner.
    When I have been slack and not kept up with the dipping I have been able to rescue very hardened brushes with soaking in Gamsol then cleaning with Masters.

    Im going to purchase a set of the Masters series brushes soon, I’ve heard some good reports on them and am keen to give them a try.
    JuliannaKaustav
  • This is actually a good topic, when I went from Acrylic to Oil - I was clueless on what brushes to use and have been through so many in such a short time:
    So I am now down to just three -
    1 - Princeton 1" flat wash - maybe not an oil, but it works for - staining and blocking in background areas.
    2 - Princeton number 6 Filbert - I mostly for mixing up paint, as it does not hold too much but enough to make a small puddle,( I do not mix large puddles anymore -just a waste) I may also run it around a line to establish an area.
    3 - Princeton12/0 round petite -  This is my absolutely solid go to  brush for almost everything  - detail works, blocking in and on the fly mixing, it retains a point superb, holds a fair amount of paint, but not too much, and best of all the handle is slightly larger so its easy to spin in the hand, I have a few and sometimes rotate.

    Not too pricey  - they work.


    Juliannamarieb
  • Evergreen brushes are Ivory ones that have been dyed green. This softens the bristles a little bit. I don't believe that Gamsol will damage the bristles though.

    I like Eclipse brushes at the moment as I find them smoother to work with on a toothy surface and with fluid paint.
    BoudiccaJulianna
  • Richard_P said:
    Evergreen brushes are Ivory ones that have been dyed green. This softens the bristles a little bit. I don't believe that Gamsol will damage the bristles though.

    Let's hope so.  From the Rosemary & Co FAQ:

    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. 

    marieb
  • Oh ok! :open_mouth:

    Good job I don't use Gamsol when painting then!
    PaulB
  • I can almost guess why I don't see any bright brushes among the ones discussed here, but I'd like to know your reasons anyway--to see if they match mine.  Paint gets too close to the ferrule for comfort?
  • @summer, the shorter or more stiff the bristles, the more I find I'm leaving brushstrokes on the painting.  I don't like it when a brush leaves a distinctive mark, as does a fan brush, or a flat.
    Summer
  • Wow, @Julianna, what was it about the first 11 palette knives that made you say "I must have a twelfth"?

    I'm just kidding, that's an impressive collection, and also that you have a table dedicated to brushes.  Makes sense though, mine roll all over the place, and sometimes right through the paint.

    Now I'm curious about who can beat a 174-brush collection.
    JuliannaBoudiccaRenoir
  • You are hilarious @PaulB     You should see my make-up brushes and vanity.    I went through a phase where I was palette knife painting and even took a class - they swore by the different flexes and shapes - frankly, it was lost on me  :).  did you really count them?  You crack me up!
  • @Richard_P   might not be a bad idea - it could be a trend in the future.  lipstick by palette knife  :)  

    Renoir
  • @Julianna,I am jealous! All those brushes...
  • Wow @Julianna so many brushes! I'm sooo jelous..I bought tent brushes and I end up using only 3, with 134 I could use at least 40 of them :D
    PaulB
  • Julianna said:
    @Richard_P   might not be a bad idea - it could be a trend in the future.  lipstick by palette knife  :)  

    That would give a whole new meaning to 'contouring' :-D

    PaulB
  • PaulB said:

    Now I'm curious about who can beat a 174-brush collection.
    Could 200+ be because of advanced age?  Not something I'm proud of though.  :#
    PaulB
  • dencal said:
    Folks

    372  :#

    Denis

    Madness..
    dencalBoudiccaSummer
  • Richard_P

    Insanity. I’m a sick puppy. I promise to stop at 1000.

    Expected these things to wear out at a rate of knots, but they never did. No solvents, soap or water and an immersion oil bath, along with a pulling action makes them last for ever.

    Denis
  • About 130- not all Rosemary&Co. Some super cheapies that are handy plus those that were bought with high expectations followed by deep disappointment. My favourite is a Kolinsky sable that was very expensive and only used for watercolour, a beautiful brush.
    Julianna
  • I have a Kolinsky gold sable, my favourite rigger at this moment, and probably the best I ever had.
    Julianna
  • Boudicca said:  My favourite is a Kolinsky sable that was very expensive and only used for watercolour, a beautiful brush.
    I think they cost about a hundred dollars now. 
    Julianna
  • Folks

    The manufacture and sale of Kolinsky Sable is banned in the US and UK. Endangered animal.
    Retailers are selling down existing stock and when finished they will be unavailable.
    This explains the high price point.

    Pretty soft, but springy hair. Good for watercolor.

    If you want a replacement, get it now.


    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/07/kolinsky-sable-brushes-banned.html


    Denis
    Boudicca
  • This explains why I got mine on sale, last one on that shelf, paid approx. $10.00 CDN, no others were available. These may no longer be available here also in Canada.
    Julianna
  • I have six survivors, and about 8 new since started oil painting again and 20 more since preparing for DMP. Mostly because I had to order them on line and be faced with an onslaught of available brands and styles at a time when my shopping-resistance gene was in remission. There are more survivors from the craft days around the  house that my daughters "found" in my artbox and wanted to use them for school projects or experiment with make-up. I think the solution is to by Rabbit fur brushes. Buy two and put them away. Then in a few months you'll have dozens.
    PaulBdencalBoudiccaSummer
  • @Julianna, the soho wipes may be good for cleaning hands and brushes but if they have detergents or chemicals that remove oil paint is it OK if those chemicals get in your clean brushes and then the paint?
  • @BOB73   I would assume so since they are sold for that purpose.   I love my SoHo wipes - for my tables, easel, jars, brush handles - my hands constantly have paint on them especially because my favorite "brush" is my fingers.  It's just like if I rinse a brush while painting in my jar of mineral spirits to pick up another color - the soho has much less chemical component than that.  I am not one to be bothered by such things - if I worried about every little thing, i'd never paint.  

    BOB73
  • BOB73

    Here is something I posted in Jan about wipes. I value them for clean up, but it is easy to keep them separate from the painting process.


    Water is the usual ingredient along with some alcohol. Some brands have softeners, lotions and perfumes added. All brands use a mould and fungus inhibitor.

    There is a range extending up to industrial wipes for oil and grease. I seem to remember using a container of wipes for removing paint.

    Denis




    BOB73
  • For the way I paint, I like Rosemary & Company Eclipes Synthetic brushes the best.  One can now get Rosemary & Company brushes in the US at windriversart.com.  -Very good service and prices.  
  • dencal said:
    Richard_P

    Insanity. I’m a sick puppy. I promise to stop at 1000.

    Expected these things to wear out at a rate of knots, but they never did. No solvents, soap or water and an immersion oil bath, along with a pulling action makes them last for ever.

    Denis
    Oil bath? Do you soak them for a time? Linseed oil?

  • Todd

    Greendl kindly posted some images of an oil immersion bath system.



    I use walnut and clove as a dip in this type container.
    During a painting session two or three are in use separating darks, lights and any power color brushes.
    A stainless steel scourer at the bottom or mesh grid allows the gentle agitation to remove loose paint.
    Towel off excess paint on entry and excess oil on exit and the brush is clean and good to go.
    I am only a casual / occasional painter but with this system over ten years, I have not had a misshapen or damaged brush.

    Denis
    Julianna
  • Folks

    I just gotta have ‘em. My new brushes. Bringing the total to 375.



    Denis

    PaulBBoudiccaSummerBOB73
  • I don't know why I'm laughing.  I have uncannily similar brushes in my Martha Stewart craft section of my studio that I have yet to incorporate into my real stash.  Even so, Denis, you are the winner.  :3
    BOB73
  • Come on Denis, you can do better than that..



    PaulBSummerBoudiccaBOB73
  • @Richard_P ; Now you've done it!  lol
  • Richard_P

    Thanks. Don’t need those. I have enough hang ups already  :3

    Denis

    BoudiccaBOB73
  • I used to put clothes pins on my brushes to stand them up like a bi-pod so the paint wouldn't puddle around the brush. and the handle would stay out of the paint blobs already on the table.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited April 13
    I knew you'd do that @PaulB so I checked.  Sure enough: "Your Experience with Brushes?" vs. "My Experiences with Brushes?"  Just thought it was funny that you did what she requested--literally.  :)
  • SummerSummer -
    edited April 13
    God help me, I just ordered 15 more brushes today!  00, 02, 05.  Do these numbers ring a bell anyone?   :p  (God, not another quiz!)   :)  
  • SummerSummer -
    edited April 15
    Summer said:
    God help me, I just ordered 15 more brushes today!  00, 02, 05.  Do these numbers ring a bell anyone?   :p  (God, not another quiz!)   :)  
    They're recommended on the supply list on DMP and Mark uses them in videos as well.  I murdered the first ones so these are their replacement.  I've vowed not to push with them or clean them again either (brush dip from Geneva).  The bristles hold a lot of paint.  Just saying.  :)
    BOB73
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