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-   -   Small or large brushes? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214393)

Keith Russell 12-05-2004 09:43 PM

Baby and Bathwater

Originally Posted by IAmLeavingEbay4Ever
I read a book by a student of Bouguereau. He said to use the largest brush that is small enough to do the job. A photo of Bouguereau showed him with a lot of brushes that looked like about 1/2" wide and smaller.

I think the idea of using huge brushes, huge canvases, and loose painting is more of a modern art thing, and I utterly reject anything coming from them.

I think it's just as wrong to reject something out of hand, as it is to accept something without careful consideration.

I like large canvases, I like large (and small) brushes, and I like a great deal of 'Modern' (and Postmodern, which is the current style/period) art.

I like having both extremely tight, and relatively loose, areas in my own work.

The Greenbergian 'Modernists' rejected (and out-of-hand, I might add) pretty much everything that had gone before. This is wrong, as there was much to be gained by learning from the previous periods, earlier artists.

It's just as wrong to completely reject the Modernists, since there is something to be learned from them, too!


avigayil 12-06-2004 03:33 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
Interesting reading all the different opinions.

I don't like long brushes AT ALL. The first thing I do is break off at least the top 1/3rd... Which I use to trow to annoying people who might come too close (joking). A brush that is much longer than a pencil, is too long for me (not joking).

I use pighair for the underpainting and tamponering (English?).
Mainly, In the final layer, I use a marterhair Windsor & Newton Serie 7 number 2 for everything, except for when I need a waver to blend things. My best fan blender is still a synthetic one from Daler-Rowney (E47) number 3. It's a thicker serie, wich is for me more comfortable for the wrists.

The combination of those 3 has been covering my needs. (Does that mean i'm not very demanding?)

What I spend on the Serie7 (just under 12$ a piece here), I save on the pighair, wich I buy in a toystore etc, for 1$ a package, containing 10 brushes. Lol.


garion 12-06-2004 04:04 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
Hello gunzorro,

I'm located in Toronto. I haven't ventured Downtown for brushes yet since I'm still trying to formulate a short list of Brand names before doing so. I currently go to Curry's Art store uptown for my supplies. Thanks for the info. I will add Loew Cornell and Princeton on my list. Looking for brushes on E-bay is a great idea.... I will have a look.

Thanks a Million
Ciro Di Rosa

Eugene Veszely 12-07-2004 05:33 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
Ok who voted for option 4 ?! :rolleyes: :wink2:

I find I am usuallly using a brush that is either to large or to small...I can never find one that will do what I want it to!! :rolleyes:

gunzorro 12-07-2004 11:06 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
That's simple to solve: buy lots more brushes! :wink2: Jim

King Rundzap 12-18-2004 02:09 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?

Originally Posted by Carey Griffel
This is a question born of curiosity, as I think that it's really just up to the individual artist and there's certainly no right or wrong... I got to thinking (highly dangerous, I know)...I've heard so many artists suggest the use of large brushes, the larger the better, in order to not get bogged down with details (among other reasons, I'm sure). But I find that I hate large brushes. In order for my work to look like I want it, I constantly find myself using a) my number 4 filbert and b) my number two round (except for blocking things in, of course). I hardly *ever* use anything bigger than a half inch for anything at all.

So, what do y'all use?

For brushes (and I don't always use them), I use everything from 3-inch house painting brushes (I'd try a 4-inch, a roller, etc. but I haven't got around to buying them yet) to tiny 0000 (or similar) brushes. In other words, if I can put a paint onto a support with it somehow, I'll use it.

dollardays 12-18-2004 05:11 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
1 Attachment(s)
After reading all the responses to this it's pretty clear that a brush has to suit an individual's "style". If you are an impressionistic painter you probably prefer long handled bristles. If you render your painitngs in a realistic "tight' fashion you need smaller brushes and if you glaze you may use sables. Add to this the fact that the size of your finished work has a lot to do with the brushes you use, also. You don't lay down bid washes of color on a

I kept track of what i used on my last painting and it was a small (11 x 140 size. So the brushes I used were small, too. I started with a #10 flat bristle, then used a #6 round bristle, a #6 filbert bristle blend, then a #4 round bristle, worked my way down to a #2 round bristle blend and a #6 red sable (the smallest of all) for final detail.

This is the painting below- and I used the bigger #6 brushes for most of it.

Marty C 12-18-2004 06:10 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
I use big for most of the work, going to small for details, all long handled, mostly flats with one filbert. Big works best for big canvases, blocking in etc. Eighty percent of the time I'll be using a big brush, dropping down to smaller for more detailed passages. Whatever gets the job done to your satisfaction.

Martin de Madrid 12-22-2004 06:30 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
Diffficult to give advice on this, depends so much on how you want to paint, what you want to achieve, etc. For realist painting, Delacroix said it best, I think: "Start with a broom and end with a needle!" Use the largest brush you can effectively manage for the area under consideration. I have found I can use the corner of even a large flat and get a very detailed line. Control of your tools and materials is key. A really good painter will make almost any tool work to their advantage. Experiment with different ideas, tools and choose those which work.

Hope this hodge-podge helps.

King Rundzap 12-24-2004 07:37 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?

Originally Posted by dollardays
After reading all the responses to this it's pretty clear that a brush has to suit an individual's "style".

What is my style then? Everything? lol

PAKI 12-30-2004 03:40 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
Using larger brushes is making me a better painter. I can't give up those small ones though.....really it is all in how you use them...don't you think? :D

Eugene Veszely 01-02-2005 08:42 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?

Originally Posted by dcorc

The advice you quoted previously to use the largest brush which is small enough for the job is correct - painting is about covering areas in colour - in general, use the largest brush you can comfortably use to cover a given area as efficiently as possible.


Is that like wearing the largest pair of shoes you can without tripping over ?? ;)

Terry Lynn 01-27-2005 11:49 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
I use both. Whatever size is right for the job at hand is the one I'll use. I do prefer the long handled over short though.


Art Watcher 01-27-2005 08:14 PM

Re: Small or large brushes?
I have seen a lot of our nation's museums lately and many masterworks were done with very large brushes. The Sargents and Zorns are very thick and brushy in person. I was amazed.

TByron 02-03-2005 10:39 AM

Re: Small or large brushes?
I use whatever is at hand, and quite often that is my finger !

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