Friday, July 11, 2008

It's all relative

This type of brush is one of my real workhorses - the Cotman 111 series 0000 synthetic round. Primarily a watercolor brush, but I don't let that stop me. Every time I buy them from my local supply store, the old guy behind the counter tells me I must have the patience of a surgeon. Every time.

Yet sometimes it actually is too big, and I keep looking for smaller brushes I might like. I've heard that Willard Wigan paints his miraculous little sculptures with brushes he makes himself, using the leg hairs from dead houseflies (they have to be previously deceased from natural causes; he doesn't wish to kill anything for the purpose of making the art. It's admirable).

I probably don't have to go quite that far yet, I'll just keep shopping around. If anybody has a favorite small brush, I'm all ears - leave a comment on this post.


Mike S said...

Hi Jim,

About a year ago, I tried out some Taklon White series synthetics (tan and blue handle )and have used them pretty much exclusively ever since. As I work in acrylics, I can't offer any opinion on how they respond to oils, but I like the fact that they have a lot of "spring/snap" and retain their shape fairly well (especially in the larger sizes). As a result, I seem to have better control when working on panels as a substrate. Their smallest rounds come in 000 and are what I typically use for detail work.

Mike Skrepnick

Mike S said...

Apologies Jeff ! The response above was meant for you, however, I had just been at Jim Gurney's blog, and still had his name in mind when I wrote the initial comment.

Mike S.

Jeff Hayes said...

Thanks Mike! I have used a number of brushese with Taklon, and probably other materials as well. I have to say I'm really happy with most of the synthetics I've tried.

It's also been my experience that brushes intended for water media work well with oils, at least as I use them. There are styles of oil painting where coarse bristle brushes are appropriate, but that's not the case with the kind of work I do.

Katherine said...

I have some Haydn synthetic 00's and I use a magnifying glass and manicure scissors to cut almost all the hairs off, leaving only about 4 or 5.

Jeff Hayes said...

Thanks Katherine - I did try trimming brushes to make them smaller before, but it was a disappointment. I was doing it with bristle brushes, so maybe I should try again using sythetics.

Tracy Hall said...

Hi Jeff,
Have you tried windsor and newton series seven miniatures? I use them for miniatures (oddly enough!). Sounds like they might suit you. Or Rosemary & Co (who ship worldwide) do a great range of handmade brushes which I also use alot.

Jeff Hayes said...

Hi Tracy - I will place orders to try both - thanks for the recommendations! -Jeff