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.

Fresh (but Awful)

The World Watercolor Group prompt for today is “Fresh” and my first thought was of freshly squeezed orange juice, but I painted oranges yesterday so I went in the opposite direction and thought of the worst thing that I have ever tasted fresh: an olive.

My family and I were in Italy and were on the Amalfi Coast, walking down from Atrani to Amalfi when we passed some olive trees in the verge between switchbacks on the trail.  There were some nice ripe purple-black olives hanging there.  My husband wondered aloud what a fresh olive would taste like.  He reached up an plucked one and then gallantly handed it to me.  Without thinking much, I popped it into my mouth.  Oh! Bitter! Bitter! This walk was less than a mile long, so we weren’t carrying water and I had to go the rest of the way with the nasty taste in my mouth.  Who ever thought of eating olives in the first place if they taste like this fresh?  I do like olives, especially the ones we bought in the Italian markets, all brined and spiced, oily and tasty, both black and green. But from now on, I will not eat fresh olives!

Olives
Fresh Olives, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

Is there anything that you don’t like when it is fresh?

Breakfast

Happy New Year!  May today be the beginning of a wonderful year for you!

As I sat down to breakfast this morning, I decided to look at the Doodlewash watercolor prompt for today.  I had a sneaking suspicion, as I looked down at my delicious breakfast, that it would be the prompt for today. And I was right.  Do I eat it now, or stop, paint it and then eat it?

Breakfast
Breakfast, watercolor, 8″ x 10″

Fried eggs are best when eaten right away, so I ate my lovely breakfast and then cooked another one to paint.

Panetone


We were introduced to Panetone, a sweet yeast bread with fruit baked in, when we lived in Italy. I’m not a big fan of fruitcake, unless this qualifies. Yesterday’s prompt on Doodlewash was “fruitcake” but I couldn’t paint this until after I finished baking it today. My sons and husband patiently waited until it was cool enough to cut. Hopefully we will have some left to eat on Christmas!

Fish Candy!

The watercolor prompt for today is “candy”.  I looked at our assortment of candy canes, mints, and chocolates wrapped in shiny colored foils, and I wasn’t inspired.  Then I read Charlie O’Shields’ post and looked at his watercolor picture of candy – decorative ribbon candy!  But he also talked about “burying the salmon”… and I realized that my husband was coming in the door with salmon from the smoker, a delicacy my family has affectionately dubbed “fish candy” and asks to get as a Christmas present!

Fish Candy
Fish Candy, watercolor, 6″ x 6″

We learned about hard-cured smoked salmon while living in the Pacific Northwest.  The native peoples catching and curing the salmon inspired this treatment of the fish.  After brining the fish for several hours, it is smoked and cooked at a low temperature until it is cooked and firm.  Yummy!

 

Gingerbread People

I made gingerbread men, women, boys and girls to take to a cookie exchange a couple of days ago.  I’m glad that they haven’t all been eaten yet, as I wanted to paint some of them.  My husband gets a disappointed look on his face when he sees food leaving the kitchen to go to the studio, but these were returned to the kitchen the same evening.

What special treats are you looking forward to at Christmas?

Gingerbread people
Gingerbread People, watercolor, 5″ x 7″