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Mario 10-11-2004 08:58 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Of course, I was only kidding about my use of small brushes.. I never use small brushes except to sign my name.. Ive been painting with mostly knife, lately... now, there is a painting instrument that will bring out, in spades, all of the good lessons that a large brush will provide. small brushes are particulary BAD for beginners to paint with. They really encourage all the wrong ways to paint. :envy: :evil:

WFMartin 10-12-2004 12:07 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Mario,

I knew you were kidding, of course, and the most appropriate suggestions offered here seem to be those ideas of using the proper brush for the required use, with which I firmly agree.

But, those who often suggest that details may not have been important to many of the old masters would have quite a surprise if they had had the opportunity that I had to see the "Paintings On Copper" exhibit that I attended at the Phoenix Art Museum a couple of years ago.

The details were painstakingly and intricately painted. There was one painting of a portrait of an old woman, as I recall. Upon viewing it up close, one could see the veins in the whites of her eyeballs!

Now, while I'm not saying that's a goal for which every artist should strive, I also need to state that contrary to the beliefs of some, not all great old masters relied upon those huge, coarse, broad, painterly brush strokes which seems so revered by many artists and viewers today, to create their astounding works of art. Many old masters worked in extreme, nearly microscopic detail. I don't paint that way, but I certainly admire those who successfully do so. The way I truly feel is that if a painting can appear attractive and eye-catching (in terms of proportion, composition, contrast, color, etc.) from 6 feet away, why should it be considered improper to create it in such a way that it appears increasingly interesting, attractive, and fascinating from, say, a 12 inch distance?

Before I left the art museum that day, after viewing the paintings on copper, I stopped at the gift shop to buy a book about the exhibit. I told the clerk that I had just seen the exhibit, and that after seeing it, I had made a major decision, regarding my own art. She asked what that decision was, and I told her (with tongue-in-cheek, of course, "I've decided I need a much smaller brush!"

Bill

Mario 10-12-2004 12:17 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Yes, that's cool Bill..I think of the Florentine portraits, from the 15th century, that are in our Philadelphia Museum of Art... beautiful stuff and done with smaller brushes..
The problem is that the beginner has the tendency to choke up on a brush, to hold it like a pencil, to get real close to the canvas, to poke and peck, over and over again, at some obsessive spot on the canvas..etc..etc.. all the worst things that one could do when learning to dance with oils.. :rolleyes: :crying: The small brush and the small detail accent these mistakes... once learned they are difficult to move away from..to capture a freeing stroke, to learn that there is more control, not less, in holding the brush like a wand, to stand back and see/paint the big picture and most of all, to enjoy the process. :cool: :angel:

WFMartin 10-12-2004 01:23 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mario
Yes, that's cool Bill..I think of the Florentine portraits, from the 15th century, that are in our Philadelphia Museum of Art... beautiful stuff and done with smaller brushes..
The problem is that the beginner has the tendency to choke up on a brush, to hold it like a pencil, to get real close to the canvas, to poke and peck, over and over again, at some obsessive spot on the canvas..etc..etc.. all the worst things that one could do when learning to dance with oils.. :rolleyes: :crying: The small brush and the small detail accent these mistakes... once learned they are difficult to move away from..to capture a freeing stroke, to learn that there is more control, not less, in holding the brush like a wand, to stand back and see/paint the big picture and most of all, to enjoy the process. :cool: :angel:


Mario,

Of course you are correct in what you've said. Especially in regards to the "beginner" in oil painting. And, simple common sense would suggest that for large, flat areas, and blocking in of an inderpainting, the large brush is, indeed, the wise choice, for nearly any artist. That's what I do, and as I've already indicated, I am tending to favor my long-handled filberts for doing just that.

I was just pointing out that some old masters did actually paint in extreme detail, and with great success, in my opinion. As I often mention, the artists whom I admire the most are those who seem able to effectively use loose, painterly brush strokes where the are most appropriate, and tighter, more detailed strokes where they, too, are most appropriate.

Bill

ckdexterhaven 10-12-2004 02:00 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mario
to capture a freeing stroke, to learn that there is more control, not less, in holding the brush like a wand, to stand back and see/paint the big picture and most of all, to enjoy the process.


Mario you and I are on the same page here. Since your tagline mentions Philly I wonder if you studied at Incaminati. Anyway, your eloquent sense of holding a brush the right way clearly comes from your experience, not just jawing art school rhetoric.

Yes, holding a long-haired filbert or well-worn egbert with two fingers and thumb at the end of the brush with arm fully extended is the best way to create both broad shapes and fine detail. As you mention, an added benefit is the greater distance of your eyes from the canvas. I now only use a mahlstick for the final glint in the eye and other final touches.

The key to steadying the hand is to relax. I sometimes let the tippy-tip-tip-tip of the brush just rest on the canvas before stroking on the paint. If my touch is light and there is no paintglob at the brushtip, I can use this 'resting touch' to gather myself and check my aim for the impending stroke. Then I place it like Sorolla -at least that's how it feels. When I miss, I do it again until its right. Because I build in masses I'm not worried about preserving underdrawing. The drawing emerges stroke by stroke, from whittling big shapes down to little shapes and then to details.

There is no way for me to do this with little brushes. I seem to come back to Grand-Prix Extra long filberts size 6-8, Simmons Egberts 4-8, and any decent brand of flats and filberts size 6-12. I also like cutting in with big cheap flats like undersized house painting brushes. Hate to sound like a fanatic, but I was once a constipated little sable brush fiddler staring crosseyed at my canvas in a draftsmen’s chair holding my brush like tweezers picking out a sliver. No more. A week at Shank's Incaminati blew the walls down in my mind and now I paint like 'Toscanini conducts after three martinis,' to qoute the man. Or at least I'll die trying. The change is liberating and rejuvenated my paintinge. Hope this reads as helpful instead of insulting to little brush people.

bjs0704 10-12-2004 05:26 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
There are those of us who are moving toward these “small brush” fine detailed paintings. Do you having any recommendations about the sort of brushes we should be getting. I have definitely had to rethink my choices when it comes to choosing brushes.

Barb Solomon :cat:

ckdexterhaven 10-13-2004 04:28 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
bjs0704 -I assume you are not glazing over a dried under painting. If you are painting in opaque tones with thick paint you need brushes that can push the stuff around. I dare say the majority of artists move toward larger and larger bristle brushes as they become more experienced. They learn how to make the shoulder swing the brush causing the brushtip to do more work, and the fingers, wrist, and elbow to do less. This type of painting requires long-handled long-haired bristle brushes, preferably interlocked: i.e. constructed with natural bristles curved inward to keep brush from splaying during the stroke. Extra-long filberts are becoming popular because they allow greater finesse with light touch details, hold more paint for bigger strokes, and wear longer than regular filberts. Everybody needs a few little sables for certain fine touch details, but if that's all you paint with you may be missing out on some of the joy of painting with power.

bjs0704 10-14-2004 02:18 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Thanks for the great info on brushes. There is a balance to everything and most good advice can be overdone. While going to school, I got in the habit of never using anything less than a #10 or#12. I suspect that I was going to the opposite extreme and not scaling back when needed.

When I left school, I was doing a lot of smaller work, so I have had to scale back the brushes. I have also had to start using the sables for the first time.

Thanks again!

Barb Solomon

Paul Corfield 11-07-2004 04:02 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
As a photorealist I tend to work with very small brushes and my brush strokes are totally hidden. My latest 30" x 40" canvas has all been done with a No.6 sable and a very fine liner brush. I can spend all day working on a section of painting just a couple of inches square and I find it totally relaxing and well worth the effort. :)

Paul.

ckdexterhaven 11-07-2004 04:45 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Corfield
As a photorealist I tend to work with very small brushes and my brush strokes are totally hidden. My latest 30" x 40" canvas has all been done with a No.6 sable and a very fine liner brush. I can spend all day working on a section of painting just a couple of inches square and I find it totally relaxing and well worth the effort. :)

Paul.

Nice work on your site. Before one buys brushes they have to know what type of painter they aim to become. You need sables to accomplish your type of work. Direct painters from life need stiffer brushes that will quickly move lots of paint and add new paint onto wet paint below. Sables are no good for this type of manipulation. As for relaxing, I paint against the clock -my model is getting tired or the light is changing. I am always whooped after I paint. All a matter of perspective.

Paul Corfield 11-08-2004 04:58 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
Yes, I quite agree Chris, there are brushes to suit every style. I just found through trial and error what works best for me. Photorealism is a style with very little ever written about how it's done so my methods or brushes may not even be correct. :)

As a full time painter I'm also working against the clock. With my paintings taking anything up to 300 hours, sometimes even more I need to work at a pace otherwise those times could easily escalate by another 100 hours or more which wouldn't be good for me or my clients. I just find the whole painting experience a relaxing and enjoyable one and I feel very lucky that I do it for a living, especially compared to my boring old job where I worked a 12 hour day in a stressful environment.

Paul.

Cochisa 11-08-2004 07:50 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
I have always used large brushes. I get frustrated when ordering online, it seems I can't find the ones I want in a big enough size...and all the different companies have their own sizing system.
I have some bristle, some sable, and I have attached myself mostly to an Isabey #20 glazing (or is it a wash) brush, I think it's mongoose or badger, not quite sure.
I like filberts.
In grade school, my teacher's aid would sit at my table and we painted together. She let me use her cat's tongue from her private collection. It was very large and we did wonderful things with it.
She taught me to always use a large brush. To get fine detail, use the corner. Of course, that would be a flat. She was a gem.
I did order many smaller brushes, but rarely use any of them.
I find the black sable alright, I have red as well.
I ordered many cat's tongues from different companys, thinking this one will be larger, but no.
I see what look like larger ones in the watercolor selection, but not with long handles. Well, I don't have the time or funds to learn about designing my own brush, but maybe someday we can get a large Cat's Tongue with a long handle.

Cochisa

dollardays 12-04-2004 12:22 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
I work large to small. Always.

I must have over 70 brushes, (because when I find a kind I really like I stock up in case they stop making them.) I also tend to want a clean brush a lot and I don't want to stop and clean one, so I just grab another and put the dirty one in a coffee can full of baby oil (make slits in the plastic lid to hold them up so they don't bend) until I wash brushes again.

I favor the large bristles -- 16-20 for blocking in and rounds for finishing the painting. I recently began using a lot more paint on my palette to begin with and that gave me a new freedom to choose larger brushes. They use more paint but you finsih the painting much faster.

I may use a 2 or a 3 to add details at the very end.

garion 12-04-2004 12:57 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
I'm also new at painting and get very easily discouraged in purchasing expensive brushes. I myself started with small sable brushes sizes (1,2,3,4)which I'm sure has trapped me in a corner => But also, I'm also just painting on smaller canvas boards for now. I decided to purchase a few larger hog bristles brushes, but I don't like the stiffness of them. At the art store, I can tell that the more expensive bristle brushes have a softer firmness to them, but the prices are too high =<.

I'm at a point where I too favor the Filbert family. Can someone recommend the next step up in quality/cost when purchasing brushes. My painting skills are progressing at a slow pace so I'm very reluctant to go with good quality brushes.

Thanks
Ciro D

gunzorro 12-05-2004 06:47 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
 
What area are you in?
Arttec bristle brushes by Loew Cornell are very good quality medium priced brushes. They make filberts and I might recommend a #6 which is very useful in smaller to mid sized paintings. In the West, Michaels carries them. The are very supple, but like all hog bristle brushes, they are a bit stiff. Princeton makes some very reasonalbly priced synthetic white bristle brushes (series 6300 FB for filbert) that are a little smoother finish in the brushstroke, but they are about as stiff as most hog bristle.
Good luck finding good brushes at a good price -- try eBay. I buy a lot of brushes off there. Jim


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