Brushes and Their Care

To a certain degree, your work will only be as good as your tools, and most painters will tell you that if you only invest in one serious tool, invest in a good brush. Synthetic brushes are fine for some things like mixing paint and dry brushing, but once you make the switch to a quality Kolinsky Sable brush you will never look back. You get a much finer point with Kolinsky Sables and paint application is easier and smoother. They also give you more control and, with proper care, last a lot longer.

Be gentle with your brush at all times. Don't mash it down on the blotting paper towel. Don't use it for mixing paint. Don't leave it sitting in your rinse water with the bristles down. And never ever allow paint to dry in the bristles.

The hairs in a paint brush actually draw liquids up the ferrule like a drinking straw. Even if you only dip the tip of your brush into the paint mix capillary action will draw it up much higher. Remember how you felt when you first looked at the price on that fancy paintbrush? You finally invested in a really good brush, don't ruin it on the first mini you paint with it!

You will want to rinse your brush frequently, and rinse it really well after each painting session. Once every 4 or 5 sessions you should give it a good, but gentle, cleaning with a special soap designed for sable brushes. Some of the more popular brands available are Master's Brush Cleaner and Preservative, Pink Soap, and (my own favorite) Windsor Newton's Brush Cleaner and Restorer. After you clean it, be sure to rinse it out very well and form the bristles into a point before allowing it to dry.

If you treat your brush with respect it will become your indispensable best friend.