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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Artists' Tools

The Tools Of The Trade


This is the second in a series of posts about the tools we artists use, the first post was a few weeks ago when I wrote about the palette.   I am choosing to deal with brushes this week because I am having a love affair with two of my new brushes.

Parts of an art paint brush

The photo above labels the various parts of the brush.  It is the belly and toe of the bristles that has me captivated right now.

These are some of the styles of brush tip:

Round, Flat, Bright, Filbert, Fan, Angle, Mop, Rigger.  Each has it's own best use, and it's the Bright that is my new favorite.  I had been using rather large Filberts and find I prefer the rigidity of the Brights at this particular moment and especially for painting the rocks I do at this time of year.  Typically I tend to load my brushes with a great deal of pigment, however the Brights carry less and are making a difference in the way I paint and a difference in the finished product.  With the Brights I tend to use less pigment, thinner pigment and work it further into the canvas.  The painting shown below is a perfect example:

Delicate Balance
48 x 30   Acrylic

Brushes are usually given numbered sizes. 000 (smallest) to 24 (largest) are most common, and decided by the area where the ferrule and bristles come together.  

The bristles can be natural or synthetic, but for my purposes with acrylic paint, it's the synthetic, a nylon filament or Taklon, a multi-diameter polyester.

The handles, which are made of varnished wood (sometimes but not usually plastic) can be long or short.  The longer handle allows the artist to stand or sit further away from the canvas for a different perspective.  

The ferrule, which holds the bristles,  may be aluminum, nickel, copper or steel.

48 x 36    Acrylic

Each artist has their own preference when it comes to brushes.  There are definite favorites for each of us and as with anything else, those preferences change from time to time.  Right now my favorite if the Bright.

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