Watercolor Brushes

The Doodlewash prompt for today is “Good Hair Day” and since I didn’t want to do a self-portrait, I decided to concentrate on the other important “hair” that I want to have a good hair day everyday: my watercolor brushes.  The criteria for a good watercolor brush is that is should carry/hold a large amount of water (or paint) and that it should come to a sharp point (for round brushes) or a fine ridge (for flat brushes). The very best watercolor brushes are made with the hairs from the tail of the sable martin from Kolinski, Russia.  No wonder they are expensive!  Most watercolorists today use brushes that have some or all synthetic bristles in them.  They are affordable, available, and easily replaced if one wears the point off.

Watercolor Brushes
Watercolor Brushes, 9″ x 4″

Although I have a coffee mug full of brushes, these are the ones that I turn to every day.  From left to right they are: a Silver “Black Velvet” round 8, a Connoisseur 1″ oval wash (also known as a “Cat’s Tongue”), a Silver “Black Velvet” round 12, and an Escoda “Versatil” rigger size 10.

In order for brushes to have “good hair days” they need some basic care.  They should be kept clean and dry when not in use.  They should not be left standing in a container of water.  This can loosen the glue holding the bristles in the ferrule and cause the bristles to take the same shape that hair does on a pillow overnight, especially when one wakes up with the hair going in every direction!  If this happens, sometimes the bristles can be reshaped with the help of some bar soap, with the suds worked into the bristles fairly dry so that the soap helps hold the bristles in the correct shape and allowed to dry.  The soap washes out once the brush can hold its shape again.

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