New (and some old) brushes!

My recent venture into the world of oil painting was a perfect excuse to take out my Rosemary & Co catalog and drain my bank account. Let’s talk about brushes, choices and variety.

I have a nice collection of brushes that work well for my acrylic and mixed media work. And I’d like to keep them that way. Oil painting brushes should be just for oil, because even though you clean them (ahem, I try though…), some oil will always stay behind. And we all know oil and water-based mediums don’t mix. So I needed brushes for my oil painting adventure!

Another reason was my search for a suitable synthetic brush. I’ve tried quite a few but I’ve found many to be too slick, or too floppy. Da vinci has a few nice lines – most noticeably their Grigio line – but I was still missing a bit more grip. I’ll be discussing some synthetic brush in the video below as well!

In this video I will show what I have and worked with for a while. Then I will show you what I’ve purchased, and try and explain my reasoning behind my choices.

In this video I also mention briefly the importance of not copying what your favourite artists are using. But instead, think about what you need in a brush and look up information about that. This might require you to try (and dislike) a few options. I’ve chosen to order a (for me) standard no. 6 long flat brush from several of Rosemary & Co’s lines, to try them out before committing. Here are some things you might keep in mind when choosing new brushes:

  • Grip: Brush hairs can be silky smooth or have a grippy texture.
  • Spring: When you press the brush on the canvas, how much resistance in the bending of the hairs do you want? 
  • Length: Do you get paint in your barrel? It’s almost impossible to wash out completely and will ruin your brush prematurely. A long brush might be what you need. You need short strokes? A lot of control? Then a shorter brush is the good choice.
  • Handle length: Most portrait painters will choose a long handle. Short handle are for those who sit closely to their surface, like watercolour artists.

Keep in mind (I know that can be tricky!) that a brush doesn’t make or break your artwork. It’s a tool that can make your art life easier and more comfortable. It can be tempting to choose the brushes of your favourite artist, but they may not be the right choice for you.

You can subscribe to my Youtube channel for updates as well!

In this video I mention the following brushes:

Da vinci brushes

Nova (Dickblick | Gerstaecker)
Grigio (Dickblick | Brinkhuis |
Maestro 2 (Dickblick | Gerstaecker)
Series 7779

Rosemary & Co brushes

Ivory (synthetic)
Evergreen (synthetic)
Shiraz (synthetic)
Chungking bristle
Hog bristle: Series 47, series 49, series 141, series 142, series 308, series 3077

Thank you for joining me on my – totally justified! – spending spree. My son already tried to blackmail me into buying him a new guitar. (I ALSO NEED IT FOR MY CREATIVE OUTLET!) Haha, I’m so proud that this is my biggest ‘problem’ at the moment. Let me know if you have any questions or just want to share or chat about your experiences!

2 thoughts on “New (and some old) brushes!”

  1. What a great presentation, Sabra! I learned so much about choosing brushes. I’m still not painting due to health issues, but have made dramatic progress in my recovery. I’ve put my “incurable” disease into remission and working now on regaining strength and stamina. I know I can do this and plan to finally begin the course I’ve already paid for (over a year ago?).
    BTW, I think your son rocks!
    I’ll be 86 in July. Hoping to celebrate with a brush in my hand and your expressions video in front of me. Keep up the good work. You are truly special❣️

    1. Sabra Awlad Issa

      I’m very glad to hear that your health is improving Marcia! Hopefully July will be good month, with lots of brushes for the both of us. I’ll be turning 40 in July. Lots of hugs and good wishes to you! <3

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