Like many artists, I am always searching for the perfect paint brush. Having bought many inexpensive brushes in the past which have lasted no time at all it really has been a false economy. (I am pretty hard on my paintbrushes as tend to use a ‘scrubbing’ motion a lot when I am working with acrylics for the under layers of the painting.)
Recently I have been using Windsor and Newton’s Artists Acrylic brushes and so far they are lasting well. They are exactly the right softness for me (not too hard with a lot of spring), the handles are weighted beautifully (something I did not really consider important until I bought these) and I do like buying British whenever I can. I do tend to buy synthetic brushes (although I have some hog brushes for oils) as I would not like to think any animals are harmed in the making of the tools I use (I actually have no idea how the hair for paintbrushes is collected) so to be on the safe side I stick with what I know.
I have also been wanting to try the brushes from Rosemary & Co having seen them at various art fairs and noticing many artists recommending them. I am hoping to be able to have a bit of a splurge on brushes in the New Year and I think this company will be my first port of call.
Do you have any favourite brushes that you use for painting?
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There is a new assistant in my studio this week. He doesn’t say much, just stares into space a lot really but I am hoping he will be a good help.
I am really keen to learn more about anatomy in relation to art and developing portraits so alongside little old me, Wilfred should prove useful.
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I almost named this ‘My Top Five Studio Tools’ until I realised that really I couldn’t pick a top 5 and that perhaps ‘Five with more to come’ might be better.
Number 1 – My Masterson Stay Wet Palette. Now this I really couldn’t be without now. Actually I splurged and bought a second one a couple of months ago so I now have one used for cool colours and one for warm colours and use both when I am painting. I used to waste a lot of paint with it drying up and tried allsorts such as take-away tubs with sponges in, Clingfilm etc etc all messy and a bit of a faff to be honest. The paint lasts weeks in here and when it starts to get a bit old, I use the paints for my journal pages and rough sketches before renewing for painting. Love the size of this, love the fact that it has a lid and it is so much sturdier than any others I have seen. I think they will last me a good few years to come! Perhaps a third one would help me even more? Folks in the UK you can get yours here.
Number 2 – a scratching tool – I am not sure what it is or where I got it (the card making section of a hobby store I think) and I call it a stylus although I am not sure that is the correct title. No matter – the fact is, it has a metal nib with a little ball on the end which means that it is not really sharp so as to tear the paper, but is great for scratching into mixed media pieces, handwriting over wet paint to show the layers beneath and for creating texture in paintings. I use it without thinking – it is just on my easel ready to go when I am in that place of concentration.
Number 3 – bamboo pens. I got these only fairly recently and they are great for making loose flowing marks with ink in mixed media pieces or drawings and for scratching into paint again. I may incorporate some more handwriting into some pieces I am working on at the moment so they will be brilliant for that.
Number 4 – rags. Lot and lots of them. They hang off my easel, drop on the floor, are to be found on every surface in my studio and I could not be without them. As soon as something made of fabric in this household tears or develops a hole it is cut up and taken to the studio. Don’t laugh but Hubby’s old boxer shorts work brilliantly. I am sure many a female artist does the same. (Otherwise husband would probably still be wearing old holey boxer shorts.) Old t-shirts, pillowcases. I use them when I am creating the many layers of glazes on my paintings where I paint and wipe, paint and wipe. Also for cleaning brushes.
Number 5 – old plastic cards – you know the ones – there are only so many my purse can take. They are great for scratching away layers of paint when things go wrong and using for image transfers and wiping old paint from my palette.
So there we have it. I would love to know what some of your favourite tools are. Also if you use your partners old pants for studio rags. (I can’t be the only one, surely?)
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I have been working on some more of the little harbour houses in the last day or so and the thing that I am finding most fascinating about them is the way in which they are teaching me what to put in and what to leave out.
Not everything needs to be there for the message to be conveyed.
Also – it is how I edit the images that makes my work completely unique to me. If we were all painting the same scene it would be the things we would choose to leave out as much as what we choose to include that would make each piece unique to us.
I am working from photos for these studies. It is not ideal as I would really rather be there working from life (but perhaps soon) but in working from these images I am making conscious decisions about
– which houses to put where (I am using the photos as inspiration rather than copying them),
– how many houses to include (sometimes one in the right place says everything I want it to say)
– drawing a suggestion of other pieces of the image
– choosing to work more on the atmosphere rather than every window and line
– creating random gestural marks that add to the piece making it more what I feel rather than see
I am really excited about discovering more about this and will blog about it as my thoughts develop further!
You can read a little bit more about my work, inspirations and process here at this blog for this weekends upcoming Art Market.