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View Poll Results: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?
Yes 11 13.58%
No 44 54.32%
Sometimes 26 32.10%
Voters: 81. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-26-2018, 05:17 PM
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Ellen E Ellen E is offline
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

No, I use the same brush as the one I paint with, whether it's pans or tubes, either one. I don't dig and scrub with my brushes, either. I pre-wet the pans or and use the side of the brush to get the paint with. I just let the water do most of the work.

I use porcelain to mix on and I'm pretty sure that's easier on brushes than mixing on anything else because the surface is so smooth and non-porous. Even the tooth of the paper will be hard on brushes. I have tiny little porcelain dish things that I carry along with me even for plen aire.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:09 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

I always use a stiff bristle brush as my "break up" brush, and I work from W&N Artist-quality colours squeezed from the tube and allowed to dry in their pans. I use an eye-dropper to fill the palette and transfer the new colour as needed. Good quality brushes are too expensive to be used for anything but applying the final wash or perhaps a light addition of colour as needed.
John
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Old 03-31-2018, 04:52 AM
star fisher star fisher is offline
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

I answered no because I use the same brush 98% of the time. But I have used a different brush for mixing skin tones. I work on a porcelin butcher tray and mix a range of shades across the tray. A different brush is for picking up the right shade. Rest of the time, same brush.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:10 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Painting "live" and usually mixing on the paper/working fast: nope, one brush all the time. These are inexpensive waterbrushes though, so no great loss if the tips get worn over time. Plus, with a cheap brush, I have no qualms about using a sharp Xacto to repoint them and get a few more months of use before they're just toast.

Mixing on the paper does pose an advantage. You only need to get enough paint into the brush tip to spread on the paper, which will probably be less than necessary to mix a juicy wash on the palette. No need to dig out a giant blob of paint, then waste half of it cleaning the brush before going back for color #2. It was hard for me to get over the horror of paint from one well getting into another, but once I did, that *really* helped. If I swipe a blue-tinted brush across the yellow to tone a green, the paint box doesn't explode or anything. I make a point of only doing that on a certain side of the pan, so the pure color is still available when needed. Only takes a minute to clean up the mess later and restore all to pristine cleanliness. The point is, it saves a lot of wear even on the cheap brushes.

If I ever owned a truly fine quality brush, the kind that's meant to last a lifetime, I'd definitely use some other tool for digging in wells. There's really no need to do that though. Even for a super-fast spontaneous painting, apply a drip of water, wait a minute, then *draw the brush* over the paint. If you're wiping across the pan so that the hairs are always following the handle, brush wear is minimized.
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:37 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

One can avoid digging out of paint wells with the tip of a brush by laying brush on its side and using the belly of the brush to bring up paint.

Just lay the belly of the brush into the paint well, rotate it and take the paint to the mixing area.

sling paint,
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:49 AM
Neeman Neeman is offline
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

^
Like the man says
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:45 AM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

I just use whatever brush I have on hand which is usually a series 7. My brushes are a tool, not a priceless artefact. I think there's a lot of #fakenews about brushes and a lot of fetishisation of watercolour brushes in general.
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Old 10-23-2018, 03:11 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

I may start doing that , but more to keep my wells clean ,than to save brushes, I feel kinda like Chris, when I need a new brush I'll get one,,,I often use a duplicate brush with clean water to soften the edges ,one to apply the paint , one to spread it
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Old 10-24-2018, 03:49 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

I wanna change my answer. :P Per discussion over on Mixing Dark Blacks (which wandered into this topic), I have been using a waterbrush to avoid complications when transferring paint to the mixing space.

I answered no on this poll because I thought, based on a couple days experimentation, that I'd figured out how to loosen up enough. But I hadn't tried to get enough for a big wash with controlled amounts,, which I did just now, by the following steps:

1. Load up dripping #8 round by rolling it in softened Pyrrol Red.
2. Rub it on mixing area. Almost nothing comes off.
3. Pinch between fingers. No more drips off onto mixing area.
4. Dip brush in water, pinch again. A couple drops, watery, fall into mixing area.
5. Assess progress: About 1/10th of what I picked up is now in the tray. About 1/5th is on my fingers.
6. Consider fingerpainting. Decide against it.
7. Wipe off fingers.
8. Dip brush in water and tap in mixing area a couple times. No more comes off.
9. Consider scraping brush on an edge to squeegee it off, but I didn't start near an edge of my oceanic expanse of mixing space, and all relatively close edges are already crusted with paint from doing that since the last time I wiped my palette.
10. Give up and mix on the page.
11. Place waterbrush close enough to just use it to transfer paint next time I want a premix.
12. Practice anger management techniques until I have chilled out enough to post.

This was my result:


So, folks who think it's easy to mix with one brush, or in fact with any brush that doesn't self-flush or imitate the action of a palette knife, what on earth are you doing?

Super-frustrated in Seattle,
Gement
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Old 10-24-2018, 03:58 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Oh, I skipped the step in the middle of "mix on the page" where I covered my blotting paper towel with bright red that had been hiding deep in the brush and it took five times as many wipes and rinses as usual to clear the brush, delaying my color switch until the page was dangerously dry.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:05 PM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is online now
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gement

So, folks who think it's easy to mix with one brush, or in fact with any brush that doesn't self-flush or imitate the action of a palette knife, what on earth are you doing?

Super-frustrated in Seattle,
Gement

Not thinking about it, eventually it's a non issue. Not a real answer, but it's an honest one.

I just never have an issue getting pure color when I need it, but obviously I have to clean the wrong colors if they get left in the pan, but usually I am in the "zone", and need that wrong color somewhere else, so just use that muddy color elsewhere until it's clean, then i can use the pure color. Because I have been doing it so long, this just fits into the flow, without thinking I kind of have a plan, a beginner won't have built up those habits. Not to mention this actually creates color unity, since I am constantly using similar colors in various parts of the piece, and to a degree, I just use those dirty colors since they are often cooler than clean colors.

Similar to how some people need their paper stretched and perfectly taut, after you just use it - using just bulldog clips, you just kind of know how to handle it. At first its a disaster, and some get fancy stretching devices, but you don't need to even stretch it, if you get used to how paper moves while you work it.

But I can't just say to you, just go and do this or that, as it requires figuring it out on your own, and it's not something you are comfortable with. And as long as you are using a waterbrush, this is never going to be something you figure out, you got an easier way to get what you need done. Same with those stretching paper, or who only use this or that paper, they require what they are used to.

I don't think you have to do it one way or another, but to do it another way, you can't really know if another way is better until you've done it a lot, and most prefer sticking with what they know - here is where comfort zones come into play, I think if you saw me working you'd think I was just really messy.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:36 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Gement, one more step to add or replace to your list...I often spray from my ever handy spray-bottle water onto my pallet to make,enough to make the puddle I will need,then go back and forth from well to pallet until its the right consistency,,, I am a very in the moment person and I find it hard to develop habits,,(MY ex may disagree with that),,anyway I hardly ever do things the same way exclusively,,,thats one of my ways
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:57 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

This may sound wacky, because apparently other people aren't having the issue, but it seems to happen to me every time:

Unless I drag the color from the well to the center continuously along the floor of the palette, I simply cannot get anything out of the brush to mix with. I can mix in the brush, I guess? Which in my limited understanding is maybe what Brian is suggesting. But if I am trying to get a variety of blends from my red and my blue and they are strong mixers, I would like some color to be sitting on the mixing area waiting to be drawn instead of only clogged in my brush. If I just go get Prussian Blue with my brush completely clogged, I am at the mercy of however much I pick up.

How do people get the brush to release into the mixing area so I can do the thing? In videos they swish in the well, and then they swish in the mixing area and a bunch of paint drops. Then they go rinse, pick up another color, drop it in the mixing area, and can combine bits of the two colors in a controlled fashion. They don't get barely a streak that's impossible to work with, and then mix in the brush while cursing a lot and scaring the cat.
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Old 10-24-2018, 08:21 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gement
This may sound wacky, because apparently other people aren't having the issue, but it seems to happen to me every time:

Unless I drag the color from the well to the center continuously along the floor of the palette, I simply cannot get anything out of the brush to mix with. I can mix in the brush, I guess? Which in my limited understanding is maybe what Brian is suggesting. But if I am trying to get a variety of blends from my red and my blue and they are strong mixers, I would like some color to be sitting on the mixing area waiting to be drawn instead of only clogged in my brush. If I just go get Prussian Blue with my brush completely clogged, I am at the mercy of however much I pick up.

How do people get the brush to release into the mixing area so I can do the thing? In videos they swish in the well, and then they swish in the mixing area and a bunch of paint drops. Then they go rinse, pick up another color, drop it in the mixing area, and can combine bits of the two colors in a controlled fashion. They don't get barely a streak that's impossible to work with, and then mix in the brush while cursing a lot and scaring the cat.

Lets not think of this as paint, but water.

If you have a puddle of water, and you dip your brush into it, does it lift up that water into your brush.

Then you should be able to move to another part of your palette, and touch the brush to the surface, the surface cohesion should release, and the water should come out.

Some brushes this is really hard, they don't really move water, they soak it up, but it all falls out right away. Or they soak it up, and it does not come out. A good brush loads lots of water, but it releases it slowly and steadily until it all comes out of the brush ( when it's in contact with a a surface )

My paint wells are full of water, which happens to have pigment in them. The brush is thirsty, it soaks up paint into it mostly, and I am not entirely sure what is technically happening, but at the same time my wells are really messy, since I often just drop paint off into a palette well.

Another issue is I don't do this with strong pigment and weak pigments, you don't mix phthalo blue with ultramarine violet. That is probably part of your problem - it is a lot harder, I have kind of figured it out, but I would suggest starting with pigments of equal strength, you will find the results are a lot more subtle. When they overpower each other, you are really just scrambling to make things work.

I must add, you should have paint akin to what comes out of the tube in the palette. Often we have hard pans, and we just have teeny bits of paint, while this works to a degree, the proper usage should be from really gooey sources. How you work will vary depending on if your paint is hard, or if it's something you can stab and the brush will dive right into it.

Last edited by briantmeyer : 10-24-2018 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 10-24-2018, 08:38 PM
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Re: Do you use a separate brush for mixing?

Maybe a description of my sensations is germane. I generally notice that I might experience one or another of two different "feels" or sensations when removing paint from the well to get it over to the mixing space.

First feeling is, one of SWABBING off some paint from the surface of the blob. Second feeling is, one of SCOOPING out some paint from the inner core of the blob. The latter is really the only way that (I think) watercolor paint does a great job of being highly pigmented. Basically, the former (swabbing) is such a weak form of pigment transferal that it only works on easily transferred paints. The idea for me, then, is to stop SWABBING and start SCOOPING. But when doing so, I don't want to actually SHOVEL paint (a third sensation, a plow-like removal of agricultural degree), so I have to try to get my SCOOPING down to the least invasive, and most liquid or non-mechanical, motion possible. In so far as the SCOOP versus the SWAB are simply two parts of a continuum (they may not be, but lets pretend, OK?) (further along the continuum from SCOOP would be SHOVEL and then perhaps PRY or LEVER VIOLENTLY) I'm hoping to engage in a SCOOP that is as close as possible to a SWAB without actually experiencing the detriment to pigment which a SWAB might usually cause (unless I want that reduction in pigment). From SWAB to SCOOP, I hope for the most SWAB-LIKE of SCOOPS although without actually leaving the zone of SCOOP to enter the zone of SWAB.

I made these terms up, for current purposes. These are not terms I have ever seen anywhere else. Now that I have written an entire paragraph with them, I start to understand why I may not have ever seen them anywhere else ...
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