|Watercolorists often have different preferences for brushes. Some of us believe it’s important to use high quality brushes, others are comfortable using throw-away brushes from a hobby store. I’ve always leaned towards the latter view. My brushes tend to be cheap. I love feeling free to abuse them or work them against the paper in whatever ways I like to create textures. If I destroy the brush – no problem – a couple bucks later, and I have a new one.|
Despite that, I have started to experiment with better brushes. Not long ago, I splurged on a nice large, short-handled brush like the ones that many of the world-class watercolorists seem to use. Of course, I was convinced that, once it arrived, I would open the package and suddenly be able to paint just like one of them! That didn’t happen. Moreover, I hated the brush. Not only did the price tag give me indigestion the brush didn’t handle like I had hoped, and I’ve only used it two or three times.
Eventually I decided to try again. The second time I bought a nice sable brush that came to a beautiful sharp point. It also came with a price tag that made me wonder if I’d need to take TUMS for the rest of my life. This time I fell in love with the brush. It holds a ton of paint and allows you to cover large areas of paper after loading the brush just once. It also lets you do detailed work with that sharp point. I’ve found myself reaching for this brush more and more often as my “go-to” brush. (And btw this is the first and last sable brush I will buy now that I’ve belatedly realized they don’t just shave these animals to get their hair. There are quality synthetics available nowadays.)
It’s still too early to know which side of the brush-quality fence I’ll choose. There are some nice characteristics that favor high-end brushes. Cost is a big factor though – one that puts the brakes on the rough handling that my cheap brushes allow. And I think if the price of a brush makes me tighten up for fear of damaging it, that will hurt my painting. I’ll bet I speak for everyone by saying that its far better to paint loosely than to paint with an expensive brush.
For now, I guess it’s worth having at least one quality brush for completing certain parts of a painting. But for the bulk of our painting anything will do the job. It’s not how we apply the paint that matters, it’s the result.
We are nearing the end of the year and Marsha Dennis will soon take over as CVC President. To round out this year, we still have an upcoming presentation and tour of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art in April (this will be held at USU, not Green Canyon High School). Also, stay tuned for information about our summer exhibit.