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Old 06-19-2015, 04:53 AM
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Yorky Yorky is online now
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Brush Addicts

Here's a useful blog entry about brush types.

Doug
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:03 PM
LinnH LinnH is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Oh thank you. I am a n00b about brushes and this was a nice reading
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:17 AM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

A wonderful, easy to read reference! Thanks, Jane (and Doug)!

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Old 06-20-2015, 05:41 PM
SAS Designs SAS Designs is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Thanks for the link. I'm intrigued by the Princeton Neptune series, has anyone tried them?
suzy
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:40 PM
star fisher star fisher is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Yes. I just used a Princeton Neptune brush on a painting a few minutes ago. I got one a year ago and have since gotten two more. They come to a nice point and hold plenty of paint. They are a softer bristle than the Septre Gold brushes I normally use, but I have easily adjusted to that.
Mel
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:21 AM
SAS Designs SAS Designs is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Speaking of brushes.
Can someone explain the difference between a Round and a Quill.
Why would someone use a large Quill instead of a large Round.
thanks
Suzy
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Old 06-22-2015, 12:37 PM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is online now
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

A quill is really a type of round, however it's far older, and gets it's name from the quill of the feather which is split open and used as a ferrule. Now it uses plastic instead with metal wires on top.

It is generally made using Squirrel, which is well suited for moving water around, it's very soft, but it's at the same time very floppy, tends to be more dull. Synthetics are actually sharper and not as floppy, more like what you are used to. The real squirrel can be adjusted so it bends one way or the other and it will hold that shape, this lets you paint with the side of it, or the tip.

They actually come in lots of sizes, mainly large ones designed for washes, but you can get tiny ones as well.

The sizes are much larger in this format, the numbers do not match up with what you see in rounds. A #4 Neptune Quill I own is somewhere around my #18 round in size, give or take a bit.

The big #18 round is large, and of course it's tip can't do things my #8 rounds can do, however the #4 quill actually comes together in a decent tip, as sharp as the smaller rounds, but at the same time not as easy to control. It lets me use a big brush longer since it still has something of a tip, but it's not a detail brush, it just won't give you as much control as a smaller round. The fibers and shape tend to be more expressive. I can use it for the broad washes I start with, as well as some of the niggly details.

The handle is much shorter since it's one of the smallest quills - thus I can fit it into my small brush case which my #18 won't fit. This is huge for me, the main reason my #18 stays at home.

Some artists really hate the wires around the brush fibers, yet in my mind this relates to it being a wash brush, the ferrule isn't going to fall off even though I understand they still can have issues.

I'd say see if having the wires is a concern for you. Yhey are twisted together which sticks up and can poke your fingers, but I don't really notice them at this point, usually I hold the brush further up on the handle - remember I use it to lay in the broad strokes and big washes.

I'd suggest getting at least one brush in this format is something you enjoy using after getting to know it. I don't think you can figure out if you like it based on just descriptions. Some artists just fall in love with them, others can't stand them. Only after you decide you love them, then you can look at getting a larger one, or one made out of real squirrel ( like the higher end Isabey's ).
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:01 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

As Brian says, quills are larger than rounds and hold more water and paint. Mops are similar to quills but may not have as sharp a point.

Both quills and mops are excellent for painting passages in a gestural manner, and for painting large passages quickly without reworking. Good quality quills also have a sharp point enabling fine applications and calligraphic strokes if desired.

I find that the natural fiber quills are so soft that I have to hold them much more in a vertical position when applying paint in order to avoid having them dump too much paint initially and to keep them from flopping over on their sides in the middle of a passage. One can also paint with the side or belly of the quill for another approach to expressive painting.

I agree with Brian that quills are an acquired taste and take some getting used to. The artificial fiber rounds are stiffer and can be used more like round brushes--at least the way I paint! I like quills and often find myself reaching for them before my rounds!

Sling brushes,
Virgil
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:06 AM
alansam alansam is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

I was wondering about the hake brushes
the Ron Ranson hake that has no Ferrell and is trapped between a split end of handle and sown in,, and the ferrell one by Frank Clark ,,,, has anyone experience of these two brushes and has the none ferrules a long life
thanks
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:52 PM
SAS Designs SAS Designs is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

I love this thread! I think it's going to lead to a Brush Addicts one soon
After reading Jane Blundell's wonderful post on brushes, I went to Jerry's and they are having an interesting, sort of "sale."
That is, if you buy $25. of a brand of watercolor brushes, you get free delivery, which is really like getting a free brush.
SO, I have some of the newish Princeton Neptune series on order, and also got a dagger/striper Silver Black Velvet.

Thanks for info on quill - I think I'd be better with a larger round, which is one of what I bought. Tried a friend's Quill and noticed I was kinda bothered by the metal.

I love the versatility of the dagger/striper shape. Again, a thank you to Jane Blundell.
Suzy
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:25 PM
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olliewood0702 olliewood0702 is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

I follow and love her blog. Thanks Doug for sharing. It's a great article.
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:26 PM
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Re: Princeton Neptunes, they're awesome. I think they're really close to natural squirrel, closer than any synthetic sable seems to be to sable. They hold a lot of water and are very soft and floppy, so they excel for loose work and glazing. Their quills are great - the #6 quill's my favorite. The little 1" mottler's also awesome for plein air painting as it's tiny but good for washes. The rounds I've bought have for the most part had great points but I've gotten a few that were blunt.

Re: hakes with metal and sewn ferrules
Alan, I don't have either one of those brands but I've had hakes with both types of ferrules. I honestly haven't noticed much difference in how they handle. The sewn one may shed a bit more when it's new, but once it's broken in it's fine. I read somewhere that the metal ones tend to store more water in the ferrule and this person seemed to think this was a negative. I don't know anything about the Clark hake but I've heard nothing but good things about the Ranson one.

Last edited by Superturtle : 06-23-2015 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:54 AM
alansam alansam is offline
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

thanks ..I have asked a friend who has used the wooden one for a few years with no problems ,I am not sure of the stitching it could be nylon .I have a Ron Ranson like you say they seem to loose a few hairs but improve with age
I have had a few quills that have come loose in the ferrel
and trying to tighten the wire was hard to do.maybe the hairs are dipped in supper glue and then placed in the quill then the wire tightened
would be nice to hear what brush makers do,,.
when mine have worked loose in the quill ,I supper glue the end and push it back in again the stock .thanks for the thread it,s so interestingI think they use wrapped nylon now for quills but I could be wrong ..I usually am

Last edited by alansam : 06-24-2015 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:57 PM
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Re: #4 Neptune quill

I might be too new to comment definitively, but I painted a practice piece that was @5.5 x 6" or a little larger. I used the #4 quill but found that it did not hold large washes in the bigger areas. I ended up using the brush to paint 90% of the painting as it held enough paint in those areas and I was painting loosely But, I had been led to believe they could spread a lot of large washes. . . .and in my experience.. . .a number 4 is way too small for a wash. It was like a large, floppy round to me.

It's a bummer that there are so few sable and squirrel choices in the US. You basically only have Escoda Reserva for sable. ..and I dunno. ...Isabey for squirrel? They don't have good reviews.

I still haven't found my perfect tools. I bought a number 8 Silver Velvet , a squirrel/synthetic blend but the brush hairs are short and floppy. Again, I don't see big washes happening with them. And large flats are super expensive!

I really miss the flats that I used to use when I was just paining a sketch and a simple color wash. I don't have the hand of rounds. They seem fussy. . .I find myself doing a lot of "daubing". But, I've only painted one watercolor with my artist grades (which are a HUGE step up in richness from student watercolor.) You really do need real watercolor to appreciate it's properties, most likely.
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:44 AM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is online now
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Re: Brushes by Jane Blundell

Are you letting it absorb the water and paint for a good 10 seconds? I'd assume it can easily cover the small page size you are describing in one pass. ( at least I can with mine ) Seems like something is wrong, slow to absorb, slow to release.

You have to use them enough soas to learn why you like them, if you have a lot of practice using other tools, you will prefer what you have practiced most. It took me a while to stop using a big flat to do washes, I'd try to get some mileage in each of your new tools, often each tool is used a certain way and it takes a while to figure out what that is.

I am going the opposite direction, I am enjoying my 1/2" flat wash versatil more and more since I got it six months ago, and I didn't think I would after really just relying on rounds. I got it solely to understand why some artists prefer flats, and really I think it's more the fibers that made me like it, most flats are very different. That being said I still rely mostly on rounds and their variations. This brush might be the direction you want to go in - I'd still suggest waiting until you get the feel for rounds as that will in the long run would make you a more "versatile" painter. ( pun intended )

I had a $25+ gift card so used it to get another 3/4" flat wash versatil which is enroute. They seem good for blocky strokes which seem to end up looking cool. You mention daubing, and I find that the flats tend to do well when you do that. I try to avoid that with a round, rather I work in large puddles. But since they don't hold as much water they are good for fine tuning the wet into wet areas, either adding more color or smoothing out the color without as much risk of blossoms. However I have been trying to do subtle glazes for portraits on hot press paper which shows every stroke/mistake. ( your experience will vary I am sure, been using this brush for maybe 6 months now )

I am not sure what reviews were negative, but I find that Escoda is a very reliable brand. I have a reserva, 3 perlas and 3 versatils at this point. Isabey I don't have as they are very expensive, but those who I know who own them seem to swear by their quills. My thought is that the fibers are the same really except for some of the synthetics, so if you like a particular brush has to do with it's balance, and if the ferrule and hairs aren't coming apart. Of course artists tend to be very opinionated, and if you don't like a neptune quill, I'd say just go for rounds.

I did see on amazon a versatil #16 round for about $30, this is probably about the same size as the Quill, not sure on the point, but this seemed like a very good deal. ( I was like $2 short or I would have gotten it just to see what it was like, the fibers in the versatil are about the only synthetic I really prefer to neptunes, it's both sharp and moves more water ). When I get another gift card this is definitely what I am getting, but I would not suggest this for those starting out as it's not exactly cheap, and it seems like the price is too good to be true.
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