This article is the final installment of a three-part discussion on artist paintbrushes. As a recap, in “All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some, Part 1,” brush anatomy and bristle types were discussed. In part two, we looked at brush shapes and sizes. In part three, the various brush manufacturers and paintbrush care will be covered.
An artist’s single most important tool in oil painting is the paintbrush. It is the main piece of equipment used to apply paint to canvas. Artist brushes come in a wide variety of types, sizes, and shapes. Knowing all you can about the different kinds of brushes available and how they are used will allow you to choose the right one for each stage of your canvas painting.
Manufacturers of Artist Paintbrushes
Artist paintbrushes are made by a variety of manufacturers from around the world. A few more popular brands are da Vinci, Winsor & Newton, Silver Brush Limited, Raphael Paris Classic, and the Robert Simmons line of brushes. These brands are the best known and most used high-quality brand names of brushes. They will always be known for the quality of the brush and its longevity, and ease of use.
Some artists are faithful to just one or two particular brands and will not use anything else. Conversely, other artists like to have an assortment of different brands available depending on their needs at the time. The only way to know which brand you will like best is by using the brushes yourself. Some name brands will be more expensive than others; however, don’t let that be what you base your final purchasing decision on. With proper care, the more expensive brushes will outlast the lesser made and priced brands.
Caring for Your Artist Paintbrushes
It makes no sense to invest in quality artist brushes if you’re not going to take proper care of them. All artist brushes require a thorough cleaning at the end of each painting session. Let me repeat, never store your brush until it is thoroughly cleaned.
Never leave your artist paintbrush standing head down in a solvent for any length of time. This can cause the brush to lose its shape. After cleaning, a brush should be hung head-down or laid flat to dry. This allows moisture to drain out of the ferrule and hairs. If you allow your brush to dry standing up, the cleaner and paint residue can drain towards the ferrule, weakening the glue that holds the strands to the handle. In addition, it can also cause a buildup of paint residue in the ferrule. In time, this will also cause the brush to become misshaped. When a brush loses its shape, it is then worthless.
As a final step in caring for your paintbrushes, you will need to remove the solvent from the head by using a mild “degreaser,” like dish soap and warm water. This helps to keep the hairs soft and undamaged.
One final word – always keep in mind that your artist brushes are expensive. If you take good care of them, they will last a long, long time.
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