Monday, September 28, 2009

Brush Recovery

Sometimes you buy a brush that looks good at the shop.  Then after a closer look it looks like this.

#20 Bristle bright, for careful use on a 6x8 in oil

Most people find the performance from such a tool quite annoying.  It is not at all predictable, even for the loosest of painters.  My last trip to the art supplier provided answers from several artists.  First there was "put it up in flat irons" meaning that after washing, fold a thin cardboard such as a match book cover and clip it in place to let dry to a thin chisel edge.  The second was "condition the brush, break it in", which referred to punishing the brush into submission.  And finally, "treat the washed brush with gum arabic, forming it to the desired shape and let it dry".  Never thought I'd return to the world of watercolour, but this seems to work.  Most stores carry a small container of gum arabic.  it is water soluble so of little consequence in use.

From the image above you can see a close of a bit of my studio with a few 6x8 paintings along the rail.  This brush was used to create them - after recovery.

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