View Full Version : Do all brushes melt that quick?

04-27-2000, 11:05 PM
Hi again!

I have been using a synthetic (cheaper) brush to start with watercolors. After a week, the point is less pointy, and around it the bristles start to curl away from the point. I look closely and see they have been "sandpapered", very used up. In a week?

Is it just my hand that's too heavy on the paper, or "scraping" colors away from the pans?

I have five Yarka Kolinski Sable brushes, number 1,2,3,4,5.

I havent's started with these brushes yet, I fear they will fade away like the cheaper synthetic brush.

I do clean my brushes with a very mild soap, form the point, and let them dry slightly tilted so the water doesn't drip in the ferrule.
What else could I do?

At this rate, I fear I'll have to buy brushes by the dozen every three months.

Anyone been there before?

-But what if I learn too much?
-Nah, there's always a leak anyway...

04-28-2000, 04:56 AM
You seem to be doing all the right things re brush care. Most damage is done ""scraping" colors away from the pans?".
I would suggest you use your cheap brushes for this and your sables to apply the paint to the paper,

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

04-28-2000, 10:20 AM
Brushes are like anything else...you get what you pay for usually. I would suggest that when your brushes are wet, do not let them stand up in a holder, but let them lay flat until dry. A good hint: If your brush gets "out of shape".. clean it, then spray with hair spray, shape it with your fingers - let dry overnight. Next AM, re-wash.
Hope this helps! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol


04-28-2000, 01:20 PM
Thanks Rod and OleCC.

I certainly will try your suggestions.

Hairspray? Would a handcream or this special brush-hand cleaner-conditionner work for shaping the brushes after cleaning? It's just that I'm alergic to hairspray.


04-28-2000, 10:38 PM
Not so sure about hand cream etc... the idea of the hairspray is that it stiffens the brush (like your hair) to the shape you want.
Actually "setting" the style. Put on a face mask eh? good luck http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

05-05-2000, 11:48 AM
Dipping the bristles of the brush into Gum Aribic does the same thing as the hair spray only without the arisol.

Kim Wyatt

05-10-2000, 07:46 AM
uu,,,,,what kind of soap are you using? mild i hope,,,not bathing soap. synthetics don't hold pigment well. when i used to h2o, i only cleaned occasionally. and quickly, not a lot of soap. no need really....milt

05-11-2000, 12:43 AM
I see two issues. It sounds like you bought a very inexpensive brush. Try to step up a notch or two in quality, your brush will hold its shape better and last longer. I also don't work with pans and use tube colors instead. They don't require the rubbing to develop a workable consistency which would also make your brushes last longer. Your brush care sounds extremely good and by the book. I'm much less careful about cleanup with my brushes and they hold up very well considering.

06-21-2000, 08:56 AM
I very seldom even use soap on my sable brushes but when I do it's Ivory cake soap. Then rinse very well. Usually I just rinse in water until no paint shows on a paper towel, reshape with my fingers, and lay flat to dry. If I have dryed out tube paint in my pallett, I don't use one of these good brushes to rework some water back into the paint. I wouldn't use hair spray or lotion on my brushes because I think it might build up. Also wouldn't use dish detergent or strong soap. Hope this helps.

Lynda Mortensen
06-23-2000, 03:22 PM
I have some good quality sable brushes that have lasted for several years! The secrets are: Spray your pans of paint with water a few minutes before starting to paint, this will soak in and loosen the paint up. Then only ever use an old brush to scrub paint from the pans - and use old brushes for any 'rough stuff' like dry-brush techniques. If you are a beginner, it may be that you are leaving your brushes to soak in the water jar? Never, ever do this - it will ruin brushes in a few minutes, always rinse the paint off, then give them a quick shake and leave them lying flat on the table. If your nylon brushes have been spoiled in this way, it's sometimes possible to restore them by holding them under very hot, running water for a few seconds - but don't do this with sable brushes. Sable brushes, being made of natural hair, shouldn't be washed with alkali bar soap (think how tangled and stripped your own hair would feel if you washed it with bar soap!). If my brushes need an occasional good clean, I use a mild shampoo and then follow with conditioner, which I leave on for about 10 minutes before rinsing off. Oh, and if you are not planning to use your brushes for quite a while, then don't leave them standing in a pot or jar with the hair end up, as eventually dust will settle in between the hairs and start to splay them out - make sure they are dry, then store them horizontally in a box or tin, to protect them from dust and moths.

If you take your brushes out of the studio, then make sure that they won't get damaged in transit - I keep mine in a small pencil tin, which slips in a small pocket of my sketching bag, with a big arrow drawn on the tin to remind me which way up it should go. Otherwise, you can buy special brush holders of various sorts. Don't be scared to use your sables, just treat them right and they will last a long time. Good brushes are very expensive to buy, so I used to keep a little jar in my studio in which I put a little money each week - my art supplies fund - which helped enormously whenever it was time to buy new brushes, paints or paper!

Oh, and I've just had another thought - what quality of paints are you using? It maybe that some of the earth colours are a little on the gritty side, which would certainly 'sandpaper' your brushes effectively! - another reason for using an old brush to get paint from the pans to your palette.

[This message has been edited by Lynda Coles (edited June 23, 2000).]