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cleaning and caring for brushes

I would love to paint everyday but I cannot afford to do that so, I am a part time artist.
I travel for my work and sometimes i can't paint for two weeks at a time.

I usually would use soap and water  to clean my brushes after each use.  After listening to one of Marks videos
I decided not to wash my brushes and I tried dipping my brushes in Linseed oil as suggested.

When I tried to use the brushes again I found that most were not very pliable and some were hard.

What to do?  

Comments

  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Your linseed oil dried.  You might be able to restore them with solvent.  I resuscitated a hard brush with repeated dips in OMS and working hte brush.  Some people restore brushes with soap.

    I use Geneva Brush Dip, which is more than just oil.  I clean off a brush minimally with a paper towel, then brush dip keeps the brushes wet for a few weeks.
    Julianna
  • Hi @Onerom1945, did you have clove oil mixed in with the linseed oil?
    Julianna
  • The Geneva brush dip is so cheap and so good that I can't imagine using anything else.  You can make it yourself with safflower oil and some clove oil but Mark sells it to you for the price of the materials basically so why bother.  I have left my brushes for longer than 2 weeks with no issues.  I do recommend a good dabbing and squeezing with a paper towel before the final dunk to make it last as long as possible.  Be sure to squeeze the brush out before using it to paint.  It won't hurt your paint or painting but extends the dry time.
    Julianna
  • @Onerom1945   I've had some of my brushes slitting in Geneva brush dip for over 2 months - I recently did a thorough cleaning of all of my brushes and a few were rock hard.  I put some Murphy's oil soap in a jar and let those brushes set in the oil soap for 2 days - they came out great and are as soft as sable brushes now.  Like @MikeDerby ; said, the brush dip from Geneva is a great buy and will last a very long time - some people even wrap their brushes in saran wrap if gone for lengths of time so that is an idea when you travel.

    Keep painting!!!
  • MikeDerby said:
    The Geneva brush dip is so cheap and so good that I can't imagine using anything else.  You can make it yourself with safflower oil and some clove oil but Mark sells it to you for the price of the materials basically so why bother.  I have left my brushes for longer than 2 weeks with no issues.  I do recommend a good dabbing and squeezing with a paper towel before the final dunk to make it last as long as possible.  Be sure to squeeze the brush out before using it to paint.  It won't hurt your paint or painting but extends the dry time.
    .....unless you live in @#$&;*#@  Australia. Ha ha

    I make my own from  Mark’s recipe and it works well.



    JuliannaSummermisael71
  • Safflower oil and 2% clove oil. Also some bargain priced linseed oil will dry out in as little as a month. Be sure to get artist's grade oils/mediums.
  • @Boudicca @#$&;*#@,  Australia? Is that near Alice Springs or closer to the coast line? I can't find it on the map.
    dencalSummerKaustav
  • I highly recommend cleaning your oil painting brushes with mineral oil and a phone book you wipe  as much as you can on the phone book and then towards the end you can use paper towel and I put a white glove on one of my hands to check if there's any paint left, and then when I'm ready to paint with oils again I dip them in linseed oil and by the way you can keep these brushes dipped in mineral oil for years it doesn't dry
  • mineral oil doesn't dry and the amounts that transfer to your canvas from your brush won't dry either. Safflower oil with a few drops of clove oil is a good option.
  • edited June 2018
    I happen to use both options, when taking a break from painting for a day for or a day or two I dip them in safflower and clove oil and then once I'm finished with the work i clean them with mineral oil it's also  a lot cheaper, I've been doing it since 1980
  • I just read a study on the bad effects of mineral oil on oil paints in the long run.  As soon as I find it again I will post link.  Basically your correct it will not dry, and mixed with other oils it causes peeling on the under side.   Of course it might take a while.  Best to wash with OMS prior to painting then dip in a good artist grade oil.  But since 1980, figure she has her system down by now.  

    http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-431889.html


    http://mcgarren.blogspot.com/2009/06/substitute-for-turpentine-rule-for-oil.html


  • edited April 29
    You don't want mineral oil mixing with your paint. Not even a little bit. It never dries. Use Mark's brush dip or dip brushes in walnut oil and wrap in plastic kitchen wrap. They'll stay good that way for many days. A little clove oil (if you can stand the smell) will extend the period you can leave the brushes before dipping them in oil again. But not too much clove oil or your painting will take forever to dry, especially if your using Mark's paint which already has a little clove oil in it to retard drying. Just using walnut oil and kitchen wrap makes everything easier.
  • Onerom1945

    Either linseed or walnut with 2 or 3% clove oil will keep your brushes in good condition. Towel off excess before use. Can be used as separate immersion baths for lights, mids and darks within painting sessions and between sessions. Can also be used to oil out a dried surface. Perfect for cleaning splash and smudge. Older immersion baths can be used to clean brushes. Immersion baths settle out and can be decanted to go around again while the sludge is toweled out to dry in the sun. 

    If you have a hardened brush:  Immerse the brush and part part of the ferrule in a small container of an undiluted cleaning product containing around 3% hydrogen peroxide. My fav for this task is Glitz carpet stain remover, a local product, but I am sure there will be something similar where you live. Please avoid long soaking in any water/detergent based or hydrocarbon solvent product as this will ruin the brush.

    Patience is required at least six hours with an occasional agitation. If more drastic measures are called for then about an hour in isopropyl alcohol should do the trick.

    If if neither of these work then try some citrus oil paint stripper.

    Denis
  • edited April 29
    Or buy a new brush and invest in a bottle of walnut oil and a roll of Glad Wrap. Cheap, simple, easy and effective.  :)
  • Rob

    Known as Saran Wrap in the US. Much prefer to use zip lock bags, rolled up in a capped PVC tube.



    Denis
    Summer
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    I get the Ziploc @dencal, but what's the pipe bomb all about?
    Summer
  • PaulB

    If l’m outside or at friends studios the PVC is brush storage, containment, protection. I have several largish pochade boxes, the PVC keeps them free of oil and pigment stains. Useful also for containment of graphite, pastels and charcoal. Attaches to easel with rubber bands or zip ties.

    Denis
  • edited April 29
    All those tubes!'Too complicated. And Glad (Saran) Wrap is cheaper. Also, the handles get gummed up in bags. With Glad wrap you only need to enclose the ferule and brush head.  Try it. Works a treat fot the daily painter.  =)
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