Old Masters Academy

Oil painting essential materials: BRUSHES

Oil painting essential materials: BRUSHES

Oil painting essential materials:


An old brush that has been properly cared for is generally better than a new one. It seems to have accommodated itself to your way of painting, and falls in with your peculiarities. It is astonishing how attached you get to your favorite brushes, and how loath you are to finally give them up. What if you have no others to take their places?


Don’t look upon your brushes as something to get as few of as possible, and which you would not get at all if you could help it. There is nothing which comes nearer to yourself than the brush which carries out your idea in paint. You should be always on the lookout for a good brush; and whenever you run across one, buy it, no matter how many you have already. Don’t look twice at a bad brush. If you are sorry to have to pay so much for your brushes, then take the more care of them. Use them well and they will last a long while; then don’t always use the same handful. Break in new ones now and again. Keep a dozen or two in use, and lay some aside before they are worn out, and use newer ones. So when at last you cannot use one any more, you have others of the same kind which will fill its place.

Have all kinds and sizes of brushes. Have a couple of dozen in use, and a couple of dozen which you are not using, and a couple of dozen more that have never been used.

What! six dozen?

Well, why not? Every time you paint you look over your brushes and pick out those which look friendly to what you are going to do. You want all sorts of brushes. You can’t paint all sorts of pictures with the same kind of brush. Your brush represents your hand. You must give every kind of touch with it. You want to change sometimes, and you want a clean brush from time to time. You don’t want to feel that you are limited; that whether you want to or not these four brushes you must use because they are all you have! You can’t paint that way. That six dozen you will not buy all at once. When you get your first outfit, get at least a dozen brushes. As you look over the stock and pick out two or three of this kind, and two or three of that, you will be astonished to see how many you have—yet you don’t know which to discard. Don’t discard any. Buy them all. Then, if you don’t paint, it will not be the fault of your brushes. And from time to time get a half a dozen which have just struck you as especially good ones, and quite unconsciously you acquire your six dozen—and even more, I hope!





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