Materials are important to the artist and like a lot of things in life, it is better to obtain the best that you can possibly afford. Painting isn´t always an easy craft – so your tools are clearly important to you.
For example, if you choose mediocre materials the final result arrived at will probably reflect this.
If you go for quality it should certainly obtain improved results.
As a contemporary artist I can tell you that you require a firm support to paint on, together with a mixed selection of colours and certainly good brushes. Brushes are important! You need one that is both clean, a naturally good shape, but that is also flexible. With a good brush you can draw freely and not only make a certain size brushmarks.
If you use short, bristled brushes they do not seem to give a particularly good finish.
If, for example, you want to draw a persons head you require an amount of flexibility and a precise touch. To achieve this you need to be drawing with the paint continually and in small accurate strokes.
As brushes go I find that it is good to have a few sables that are pointed, as well as a few hog hair brushes. If you use a flat brush you can get delicacy by lying it on its side.
If you wish to draw well and put down patches of colour, you need brushes that have fairly long hair, filbert, round or flat, so they are flexible.
When you get yourself good quality brushes then they should stay in shape well, but it is a requirement that they are washed at the end of each painting session. It is pretty clear they will not be good for long unless you treat them well.
What will help you? Well, being a contemporary painter, I usually keep an old jam jar filled with turps substitute at my side. This you can use for cleaning out your brushes whilst you are painting and of course when you finish your work for the day. It is recommended that you should clean them thoroughly in this, preferably dry them on an old piece of rag and then finally it is usual to give them a wash with some soap and water.
It is better to hold the soap in one hand and rub the brushes across it, then clean them gently in your hand with your fingers. Then rinse in water and then start to reshape the bristles with your fingers.
This sounds a lot to do, but really should never take long to do, but it is important.
Sometimes if you are tired you may forget to do this and then find you will be mad with yourself the following day.
Actually most people seem to collect quite a varied collection of brushes but end up using only six or seven at a time. As with everything else you have your favourites and really you do not necessarily need a large stock. You find that you still use your very old ones. These are very good on wide areas of painting as they are well worn and this saves on your newer brushes as it tends to wear them down.
This article was written by Anna Meenaghan of http://annameenaghanart.com
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