Monday, May 22, 2017

Watercolor Essentials: Part 1, Brushes

Students are often at a loss when buying watercolor supplies for the first time. I hear you. I have a studio filled with supplies that I bought when I first started painting that I never use anymore. Why am I still hanging on to them? Good question and probably an answer for a therapist, not a blog.

I thought it might be helpful if I take the next several weeks to write about the materials that I do use and why.

Let's start with brushes.

I always tell students not to run out and buy the most expensive brushes because, frankly, brushes wear out and you will find yourself replacing them after a year or two. That's when you can upgrade the brushes you find yourself using most.

Here are some tips:

  1. Start with a variety of sizes and shapes, including flats and rounds. You will especially want a 1" or 2" flat brush for large areas
  2. Skip the fan brush; I don't know anyone who uses one.
  3. Try synthetic and natural hair. I have all my brushes in both. I use the sturdy synthetic brushes for scrubbing and the more delicate, natural hairs for the painting.
  4. I like Rosemary brushes for their quality. The natural-hair brushes are supposedly humanely sourced (according to Rosemary herself).
  5. I like Pro-Arte synthetic brushes because they are a good value--well made but not ridiculously priced.
Here are some of the brushes I can't live without.

From left: 2” Flat (ProArte Prolene)
1 ½” Flat (ProArte Prolene)
1” Cat’s Tongue (Grumbacher)
18 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
18 Round (Rosemary Synthetic 301)
12 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
12 Round (Rosemary Synthetic 301)
8 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
8 Round (Rosemary Synthetic 301)
4 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
2 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
1 Round (Rosemary Kolinsky 33)
16 Extended Point (Rosemary 46)*
1/2 Silver Scrubber Angled
1/2 Silver Scrubber Round
1/4 Silver Scrubber Stencil                                                                   
*Good for painting very fine lines
  like wispy hair

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