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Brush for Oil Painting
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Oil Painting Brushes

Brushes are an important tool for painting and it is false economy to buy cheap ones.
Buy the best you can afford, respect and look after them well and they will last for many years.

hog brushes
     Assorted Hog     brushes, Round, Flat and Filbert.

Bristle brushes for Oil painting and how they are made.
Artists brushes are hand made and for the oil painter finest 'Chungking' if often the preferred bristle, because it holds the paint well and has plenty of spring.

Natural bristle does not come to a point, it actually has two or three splits at the end, these are called 'flags'. This allows the bristle to hold more paint, with use, the flags often change colour having been stained by strong pigment, but this has no detrimental effect on the brush.

The bristle is cleaned, sorted, sized, sterilized and wrapped into bundles for each brush, this is then hand tied and then 'cupped' to form the various shapes. The bristle is then set into the metal 'ferrule' using a special type of resin glue. The best ferrules are seamless nickel-plated copper and they contribute to the size, balance and shape of the brush.
The ferrule is then crimped onto a lacquered hardwood handle, the handle carries all the information about the size, make and type of brush.
Brushes for oil painting, more often than not, are long handled, this helps the balance of the brush and allows you some distance from the work, very helpful when painting large canvases. Hogs are often used for expressive brush work, the imprint of the bristle remaining in the applied paint to give texture.


Standard brushes for oils are shown on the right and from top to bottom:-
Filbert - is a flat brush with the tip having an oval shape like a filbert.
Bright -flat brush with a short length of bristle.
Flat - flat brush with a long length of bristle.
Round - round brush shaped like a bullet which comes to a blunt point.
Fan - not shown but shaped like a fan.

For more information about brushes and brush shapes and the different filaments available for oil painting  have a look on the Rosemary and Co website, our thanks to them for the use of the images.

Set 105 - Oils
*New* Set 20 Beginner - All Mediums  
Besides using bristle brushes for oils, you can use Sable, Sable synthetic mix or synthetic.

Brush shapes in general use are:- Round; One-stroke; Flat and Rigger. Mop and Wash brushes are used for blending.

The effect you wish to create dictates the choice of shape and filament, The Sable and Sable/synthetic mix will usually give a softer, smoother look to the applied paint. This mixture of filament is also useful for detail work and where finer brush strokes are needed.

The synthetic mixtures range from soft to bristle effect and are a good alternative to natural hair filament. Each type has its place and it's important to find out which type suites you, the way you work and the effect you wish to create. Working with different brushes is only real way to find out what is right for you.

The example on the right is a Rigger brush, a mix of sable and synthetic filament, loaded with thin paint it is ideal for fine lines and things like twigs and branches.

rigger in hand

soft haired brushes mops and hakes
If soft brushes like Mops, Hakes and Wash have been used to blend the paint, they can easily be cleaned without 'drowning' them in fluid!

Take piece of kitchen towel, lay flat on a surface, add a tiny amount of Zest-it to the towel, just enough to dampen it and then rub the brush hair back and forth to remove the paint. Rub onto clean kitchen towel then allow to air dry.

Brushes are the 'tools' of your 'artistic' trade and it is very easy to ruin them if they are not looked after properly. Brushes need to be cleaned after each painting session, a good cleaning routine will pay dividends.

Place a small amount of Zest-it Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner or the Zest-it Solvent (Citrus Free) into a container suitable for brush washing.
Take the worst of the paint off the brush with paper towel and wash the brush in the fluid, allow to air dry.

zest-it brush cleaner

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