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Devoted 2Art
02-08-2012, 04:02 PM
Hi - Hoping to find some information that is likely already available but I'm unable to locate it. I am somewhat new to acrylics and invested in a large quantity of quality artists paint and brushes based on ratings and other artists information. My favorite brushes are Robert Simmons Titanium, Winsor & Newton Eclipse, Winsor & Newton Artists's Acrylic, Escoda Robusto Tekady, Modernista Tadami etc. Good brushes are expensive and I generally keep them thoroughly clean & lying flat during my painting sessions which keeps them in prestige condition. I find by dedicating so much to brush care is impeding on actual painting time. Though I do have many brushes of inferior quality for gesso, large areas and scrubbing that I'm not overly concerned about they aren't good for everything and lose shape quickly. It seems many acrylic artists leave the brushes in use immersed in water and I've never attempted it. Does keeping the brushes in water like that cause permanent damage? I use a lot of brushes during my sessions and would love to learn that the damage may be minimal and the trade off is worth the extra painting time but I don't want to test it without at least some input from experienced artists.
I use the mostly the following paints if that make a difference.
Background, primer, cover-up. Holbein Colored Gesso, Matisse Background Color, Turner White Gesso.
Intermediate larger areas - Matisse Flow, M Graham, Maimeri Brera.
Final layers - Old Holland, Lasaux & Matisse Flow.
Mediums - Matisse Painting Medium, Old Holland Glazing Medium.
Brush cleaners - W & N Brush Cleaner & Restorer, Savvy Soap, Pink Soap.
(I've tried Master's but it did more damage to a slightly damaged brush.)
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You - John

idylbrush
02-08-2012, 04:40 PM
I have a set up similar to this (http://www.dickblick.com/products/bob-ross-brush-cleaning-bucket-and-screen/). I do flip the screen over....just opposite what is shown here. I have been known to leave a brush or two in there for a day or so, okay maybe more. So far no ill effects. There is also an electric brush cleaner (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/brush-washers-and-cleaning-supplies/brush-washers/the-artists-brushmate.htm) (have seen it but haven't used it yet). For the most part I clean brushes at the end of the day.

I also have a three pot system for daily use. One container has water, one has water with flow enhancer and one has water with dish soap. I mark each plastic cup with green (water), yellow (water with flow enhancer) and red (water with dish soap). I do that just so I don't have to think about what is where. The container with the screen is just for storage and cleaning during a painting session.

Just the way I see it.

paznbaz
02-08-2012, 05:42 PM
My brushes are in water while I am working ( I have cheap and expensive ) I wash them out at the end of painting with soap and water. Having been a signwriter all my life I have used very expensive sable brushes and have treated them with a soapy wash at the end of daily use. Any mishapened brushes will regain their original shape by running HOT water over them and shaping them with your fingers. The only brushes I have lost have been through time and wear.

Paul

Einion
02-08-2012, 06:06 PM
It seems many acrylic artists leave the brushes in use immersed in water and I've never attempted it. Does keeping the brushes in water like that cause permanent damage?
It can, depends on the brush. How deeply they're immersed in water (above the ferrule or not) as well as whether the brush is resting on its head at the bottom of the container are also major factors. The safest way to keep brushes wet constantly during a painting session is to suspend them in some way so that only the bristles are immersed in the water, although you can also lie them down at a shallow angle on a wet sponge.

I use a lot of brushes during my sessions and would love to learn that the damage may be minimal and the trade off is worth the extra painting time but I don't want to test it without at least some input from experienced artists.
The first expedience I would suggest is to use fewer brushes per painting - with acrylics all you need to do is rinse a brush to use it again for another colour, as when painting in any medium that can be rinsed from the brush easily.

(I've tried Master's but it did more damage to a slightly damaged brush.)
This matches my experience also - this soap was originally formulated for cleaning bristle brushes used in oil painting, and AFAIC that's where it should stay.

If and when actual washing of a brush is necessary simple handsoap can work as well or better than those made for brushwashing. That said, Pink Soap is an excellent one of its type and I've read many good reports on it, ditto with the W&N product.

I would recommend adopting a double-bath rinsing system for brushcleaning during paint. Worth experimenting with adding a little dishwashing liquid to the first container or both containers too; you may find this undesirable depending on your painting methods as it can increase the tendency of dilute paint to foam.

Einion

Devoted 2Art
02-09-2012, 12:27 AM
Thank you all for the feedback. I've got a triple-well cleaning bucket placed on a butcher tray lined with several layers of paper towels & napkins. The 3 wells will accommodate the multiple solutions and I can angle the brush on the edge of the tray. I've used flow enhancer added directly to paint but haven't tried adding it to the water yet - what brand do you suggest?

I use a lot of different brushes because of my inexperience. I am starting to figure out how they act and react to different techniques and paints. Over time I will intuitively know the brush I need but now it's all still trial and error.

Thanks again to everyone for the tips - Maybe I can get more painting in now.

AndreZA
02-09-2012, 02:19 AM
A few things have changed since I've started painting. The first was not clean the brush in a container full of water. You don't want water to go past the top of the ferrule. The second is not to leave the brush in the water. And thirdly is use two containers with water. One to take off the most paint and the second for a clean brush. At the end of a session I wash the brushes with Master's soap and leave the soap on and then shape the brush. The next session I will rinse the soap off in container 1 which soaps up the water a bit aswell.

You can read about some care here

https://www.rosemaryandco.com/tipsandadvice.php?osCsid=7nli1us5f3acjudcfgso90rp87

Zoe Sotet
02-09-2012, 02:34 AM
I have one of those plastic tray things with a sloping bottom that you would normally have a paint roller in (for house painting) which I have water in. I rest the brushes in that so that they are sitting in water but the bristles are not getting bent.
I've never had a problem with the ferrules so far.

timelady
02-09-2012, 08:02 AM
Does keeping the brushes in water like that cause permanent damage?
___

yes. I keep my brushes in water 24/7 (and often even leave them there when I go on holiday!). Just one big bucket that everything sits in, dirty water and all. A screen on the bottom helps the bristles not bend, and other than that the real risk is rusting. Most of my brushes have rusted metal bits and the paint comes off the handle. But I don't care about that because it's the bristles that are important. :)

Saying that, I also brush quite hard so my bristles wear down anyway. So the life of my brushes is generally under a year. My more expensive brushes (varnish brushes, which I also use for painting) also only last about a year. But I figure my entire annual brush "budget" is probably under 50 a year. So having to replace them is not a huge expense in the overall scheme of things. I found a balance between how I work (not wasting time cleaning, as you say) and what cost is acceptable.

Tina.

Einion
02-09-2012, 09:58 AM
I've used flow enhancer added directly to paint but haven't tried adding it to the water yet - what brand do you suggest?
I wouldn't, reserve it for paint mixtures. It's too expensive to waste as a rinse-water additive!

Just common-or-garden dishwashing liquid will work fine for adding to your rinsing container; I've probably used more than a half-dozen brands to this point, all function the same way as far as I can tell. You just need to use less of the expensive ones that are more concentrated, more if they're thinner (watered down in the factory).

I use a lot of different brushes because of my inexperience. I am starting to figure out how they act and react to different techniques and paints. Over time I will intuitively know the brush I need but now it's all still trial and error.
How many brushes you need depends a lot on the nature of your painting and the variety of marks you want to make. One painter will do a lot with two, three brushes - using edges, corners as well as the entire brush - but another needs to use five or even ten because they need to go from wide and coarse (backgrounds) to very small and precise (fine details), and all the stuff in between.

Einion

ShannonTeague
02-09-2012, 11:26 AM
I use this (http://www.dickblick.com/products/loew-cornell-round-brush-tub/). It's got angled holders on half of the well. I usually keep brushes in water while I'm working but I wash them with soap and water at the end of each day. If you keep a brush in water vertically and resting on the bristles, it can bend the fibers if you leave it like that long enough.

Stacey3352
02-09-2012, 11:43 AM
I wash my brushes out when I am done painting for the day or when my rinsing cup gets too dirty. I usually just run water through them and gently massage the paint out and then shape them. Sometimes I use dish soap but it is usually when I have left a brush on my palette too long. I have yet to damage any of my brushes. If you ask you may find that many peoples favourite brushes are the cheapest ones they have. I have quite a few at various price points but I tend to use the cheap ones most often.