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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Every artist has a preference when it comes to the shape of the brush they reach for the most. For example, portrait artists lean towards filberts while watercolorists enjoy the versatility of a nice pointed round. When it comes to brights and flats, however, some artists wonder, “What’s the difference?” Let us break it down for you!
Flat brushes have a filament length that is more than twice as long as its width which means:
Flats hold quite a lot of color
Artists who like to lay down a generous amount of color all at once or would rather not reload frequently can rely on flats to carry color for quite a few strokes
Flats offer a looser stroke
The longer length of the filament means you have less control
Flats generate a longer stroke
The longer length lends itself to more expressive strokes
Flats have more flexibility
This shape allows you to apply plenty of pressure when you really want to push the paint into your canvas
Bright brushes have a filament length that is nearly equal to its width which means:
Brights hold a modest amount of color
For artists that don’t want to add too much color all at once, a bright brush is the perfect shape
Brights provide excellent controllability
You will have more control over your stroke, which can be a really good thing for new artists
Short, quick strokes are much easier to achieve
When compared to a flat, the bright shape makes a small stroke simple
Brights are excellent scrubbing or scumbling brushes because the short filament keeps them stiff and allows you to get rough
Here are some paintings from artists who prefer one shape over the other: