Atelier™ Quills and How To Use Them

Silver Brushes’ Atelier™ Quill series features 3 different types of quill. Each quill has their own unique strengths that can lend different techniques to your painting. In addition, every brush is carefully crafted with balanced wooden handles and decorative copper wire at the ferrule for added style. No matter what your medium, one of these quills is the perfect brush to make your mark.

5025S Atelier™ Squirrel Blend Quill
Uses: laying down a wash, wet-in-wet techniques, fine lines, broad strokes, leaves and petals
Medium: Best in Watercolor or softer-bodied Acrylics but can also be used in Oil

  • Blend of soft squirrel hair and multi-diameter synthetic filaments
    • Squirrel hair allows for maximum color absorption while the synthetic fibers give the quill body and a slight snap
  • Ability to maintain sharp point when wet
  • Comes in sizes as small as 00, great for details when gentle pressure is applied
  • Excellent mop brush
  • Favored by watercolor artists because of its’ ability to absorb and hold color
Painting by Dee Capulan

5225S Atelier™ Golden Taklon Quill
Uses: Backgrounds, broad strokes, details, landscapes
Medium: Acrylic and Watercolor

  • Superb quality golden taklon filaments that move color with ease
  • Comes in extra-large sizes, making it the perfect tool for covering wide areas
  • Despite large sizes, this quill keeps its fine point
  • Holds less liquid than squirrel or goat hair, offering greater control over how much paint you put down
  • Very durable
  • Favored by acrylic artists
Painting by Nourane Owais

5325S Atelier™ Goat Hair Quill
Uses: dry blending, softening, touch-ups in tight spots, lifting color, washes, details, fine lines, leaves and petals
Medium: Watercolor, Oil and Acrylic

  • Pure white goat hair makes this a true all-media brush
  • Specially dressed for added durability and absorbency
  • Very soft hairs that won’t leave brush strokes in your paint
  • Full belly that will hold color and release with perfect control
  • Favorite among oil painters who want to blend or soften their work
  • Excellent tool for dry blending!
Painting by Sangmi Lee

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Featured Artist – Ethan Diehl

We recently interviewed artist Ethan Diehl after meeting him at the 2019 Portrait Society of America show in Atlanta, Georgia. Ethan has an astounding talent for photo-realistic oil paintings. In fact, his paintings are so realistic that he even has a disclaimer at the top of his website that says, “Yes, these are paintings.” See for yourself!

SBL:  When did you start painting and what inspired you to pick up a paintbrush?
Ethan: I started painting almost before I could walk. Granted, it wasn’t in oil (closer to Gerber’s baby food), but it was the starting point.  My mother babysat a bunch of kids, and she converted our basement into an art room.  A half dozen young artists, mastering our watercolor craft.  I didn’t start painting in acrylics until junior high, and oils didn’t come on the scene until college. I don’t know why I picked up a paintbrush. I’ve always liked the visual world. The stars at night.  Storms on the horizon.  Movies.  Paintings. All of it.  Being able to capture images that lived in my head, and in front of me, always seemed special to me.   Like my superhero power.

“Train of Thought”

SBL: Do you have any formal training or instruction?
Ethan: I went to Stanford to study rocket science. Literally.  However, after a year of not enjoying my classes, I started to take studio art classes.  One of them, a drawing class, was taught by Nathan Olivera.  Nate was an incredible person.  We hit it off in his class, I completely changed the direction of my studies, and he became my art mentor.  More than simply learning the technical side of making art, Nate taught me how to pay much closer attention to what was right in front of me in the visual world.

SBL: Before you became a full-time artist, what did you do?
Ethan: The concept of full-time artist makes me chuckle. I knew very early on that it would be nearly impossible to make a living by just selling art.  So, I got a job, which I still have, as a software developer. I’ve been doing that for 21 years. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t put in a fulltime amount of work each week in the studio.  I do.  I’ve been doing 40+ hour “work” weeks + 40+ hour “art work” weeks for almost 15 years.


SBL: What is your favorite subject to paint and why?
Ethan: People are my favorite subject.  Primarily women.  This isn’t exactly an original concept in the art world.  Haha.  I like spending my time focusing on the beauty that only women bring to the world. Within the subject of women, I only paint women I know.  It’s important for me to have a personal connection to my subjects, because it takes SO long for me to complete my paintings.  I really don’t want to spend months on end staring at a strange face in my studio.

SBL: How long have you been using Silver Brushes and why do you like using them?
Ethan: I have been using Silver Brushes, and only Silver Brushes, since 2004.  That was the year that I started my professional art career.  I only use 1 particular brush: the Silver Bristlon® Flat size 0. My paintings are made of tens of thousands of squares of oil paint.  Each square is 1/6 in by 1/6 inch.  The Flat 0 is the perfect width for that size square.  The way that the bristles are constructed works well for me, too.  I like the flex of the bristles as I’m working on the squares.  Once I found this one brush, I was hooked.

“Constellation” painting process

SBL: Can you explain your painting process further?
Ethan: I use a pencil and ruler to turn my canvas into the equivalent of a super-sized piece of graph paper.  Then, I spend months looking back and forth between my computer monitor (which has a pixelated image), and the canvas, and painting tiny squares.  My Silver Brushes are never the same afterwards.  I normally use 1 single brush per painting, and then the brush is “retired”.  This process is not recommended for anyone else.  It works for me, but it’s painful.

SBL: Have any artists influenced or inspired your work?
Ethan: Chuck Close specifically influenced the way that I paint, from a technical aspect. I’m inspired by living artists like Jenny Saville, Mark Tansey and Banksy.

SBL: Is your artwork on display anywhere?
Ethan: My art is shown at three galleries:
 Julie Zener Gallery in Mill Valley, CA
 Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC
•  Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.

SBL: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Ethan: Work hard. Be nice. Enjoy the process. Fight envy with all of your strength.

For more information about Ethan and his artwork, please visit these links:


Summer Brush Care Tips

As summer approaches, it’s important for artists of all skill levels to properly prepare their brushes for the challenges that hot, humid weather can bring. Here are a few tips and tricks to help ensure the longevity of your artists brushes.

  1. Use a moth deterrent near your brushes
    • We all know the “joys” of little creepy crawlies making their way into your homes, whether there are ants feasting on crumbs under the kitchen table, wasps coming through a cracked window to terrorize the family, or moths fluttering their way toward the warm glow of the light in your studio and making a snack out of your natural hair artists’ brushes. A moth deterrent in or near your brush case can save you a lot of trouble. Try cedar wood chips for a pleasant smell!
  2. Store brushes in a breathable case
    • As humidity rises, moisture will get trapped in a plastic brush case and it can cause mold to grow in the hairs of your brushes. To avoid this, make sure you are using a canvas brush case like our Monaco® or Tuscany® cases. Do not store brushes in a plastic case or bag!
  3. Maintain the humidity level where your brushes are stored
    • Changes in humidity in your house can cause brushes with a wooden handle to expand and contract, potentially making the paint of the handle crack or the ferrule to become loose. Try your best to keep brushes in a cool, temperature-controlled room.
  4. Condition natural hair brushes
    • Did you know you can condition your natural hair brushes just like you would the hair on your head? This process is a quick, easy way to give your brushes some TLC and stop humidity from wreaking havoc on their endurance. Simply wet your brush, squeeze a small amount conditioner onto the head and message it into the hair with your fingers. Thoroughly rinse the conditioner out and lay flat to dry.

View our Tender Loving Care of Artists Brushes Brochure for more information about brush care!

Do you have tips or tricks that help you preserve your artists brushes? Share them with us on social media @silverbrushltd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.