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Old 07-24-2012, 10:35 PM
Reaperc89 Reaperc89 is offline
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Oil Brushes

So I have been painting for a couple of months now, and I recently solved the battle of finding the paint that I like best, but I can't seem to come to a conclusion on brushes. I bought some very cheap student grade brushes to begin with, and they worked fine to get me through an oil painting class I am finishing up, but after painting for a little bit I began to see the shortcomings of these brushes.

There are so many different types of brush fiber out there, that I honestly am a bit overwhelmed by it. I don't have the money to buy a dozen different kinds of brushes to find the ones I like best, so I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. I was initially looking at W&N Artists' Oil brushes with the Chungking hog bristles, but the reviews on blick left me a tad skeptical that they were anything other than a mediocre brush. I also had noticed Utrecht offers a line of artists brushes in chungking hog bristles, as well as a synthetic sable brush line. These have almost no user feedback on them though, and it would be taking a potentially costly plunge into unknown waters.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:46 PM
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Freesail Freesail is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

Surprised you're not taking about the shape or type of brush to use.... Hog bristle are very common and used by many, including me. You may find that a good brush handles paint very differently and you may want to even re-think the idea that you found your paint already at this point....
Solvent = Leaner Oil = Fatter

Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint. (Arshile Gorky)
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:50 PM
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J.G. J.G. is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

My favorite brushes for quality and price are Trekell. They have a variety of hair types and shapes that you can try and they are well priced. I have used high end natural hair brushes that cost $50 each, and low end 99˘. I use these almost exclusively now.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:14 PM
2hype 2hype is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

So far I like the Robert Simmons Signet brushes best. I've also tried some Trekell and Silver bristle brushes, but I like the Robert Simmons Signets better.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:27 AM
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boomerbeach boomerbeach is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

I'l 2nd 2hype on the RS Signets, always avail on deals everywhere!
boomerbeach in SoCal
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:29 AM
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Ron Francis Ron Francis is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

Can't help you with the brands, but bristle for stiffer paint and sable/synthetic sable for softer paint.
I will often use bristle for blocking in a painting and mainly turn to the softer ones from then on.
Also, the longer the hairs the softer it will be.

I think that filbert brushes are probably the best all round shape.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:44 AM
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TruEnuff TruEnuff is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

Honestly I don't know of anyway to find out what brushes you prefer except to use them. Reading reviews will help if there are any real drawbacks, like hair falling out, the ferrule working loose or the like. (W&N brushes have done this to me several times. I don't buy their brushes anymore. I love their oils, however.) If someone says in a review that they like the feel of a particular type of brush, they are really saying that it accommodates or enhances THEIR way of painting. It might not do the same for you. Having said that, however, recommendations from artists whose style you admire can't hurt.

I've used Utrecht interlocking bristle for years. I found them serviceable and relatively inexpensive. More recently I've started using Rosemary & Co. bristles, which are amazingly cheap for what appears to be a high quality brush. (they have unfinished handles...presumably putting the cost of production into the working end of the brush.) I LOVE their long hair mongoose brushes for particular applications and subject matter. Easily the nicest brushes I've personally used, but not a "utility" type brush.

As someone has already mentioned, the bristle material is only part of it. Filbert, flat, bright, etc is the other part. The positive side of it is that even good bristle brushes are relatively inexpensive. If I remember, the Utrecht bristle filberts are about $3 to $5. Three or four select filbert sizes are all you'd need to get underway.

Keep Painting!
Bruce B. Hancock
C&C's always welcome!
"If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it." Norman Rockwell 1894 -1978
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:55 AM
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Alan P. in OC Alan P. in OC is online now
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Re: Oil Brushes

Real hard to recommend brushes without knowing your style of painting. I layer and strive for great detail, no impasto, so I have brushes for applying, blending, some soft and fluffy and some a little firmer. I don't even own a bristle, and only have and use 3-4 synthetics; the rest are sable/finch.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:57 AM
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lovin art lovin art is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

Neef it's a oz brand I think and they are synthetic .... I'm liken to Ron I block in then I change as I go ...
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:21 AM
Aires Aires is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

In addition to what has already been said about Robert Simmons Signet brushes, you really can't beat then for a basic, dependable workhorse of a brush. My choice is the filbert style brush. Of course you would prefer softer brushes if portraits are your field. if that is the case, you can always go to the Titanium series for manmade fiber and a softer brush. With these as a basic start, you can then add more expensive or different type brushes as you find need for them. Other brands are as good but maybe not as easily found in local stores nor at as low cost. Good luck, the main thing is to get in action with whatever brush you choose.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:46 AM
DennisF73 DennisF73 is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

I also think Robert Simmons Signet is a very good brand to use. I have several jars of filbert, flat, bright and rounds of all sizes from 2 to 12. Another brand that I have quite a few of are Masters Touch. Not quite as good as Robert Simmons, but fairly cheap at Hobby Lobby.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:19 PM
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RandyP RandyP is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

A lot depends on how you like to paint. I like the Utrecht series 209 long handled hog bristle brushes. They are durable, keep their shape and aren't that expensive. They work well for working in the field and working alla prima, but if you're more of a detailed oriented painter or one who paints in glazes, they may not be the best choice.

I usually like flats, brights and filberts because they offer flexibility in the stroke application. Also, it's good to have a rigger brush for line work.

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Old 07-25-2012, 02:30 PM
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Kory Kory is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

This is only my opinion from what I've tried. Coarser brushes seem to be better for oils, avoid things like gold taklon because they tend to bunch up and the paint doesn't want to come off of them as easily.

Hog bristle etc tend to be the best for me, I suppose it also depends on how much and what kind of medium you're using.

Hope that helps.


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Old 07-25-2012, 02:37 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

I really like Silver Brush' Gran Prix line of natural bristle brushes. My sables are a mix of Winsir-Newton black sable and Cirrus...
Forcing the waveform to collapse for sixteen years...
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:11 PM
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lt_scout lt_scout is offline
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Re: Oil Brushes

To add even more confusion to this topic, you'll likely want different brushes to achieve different effects or techniques in your work. Consider accumulating a wide variety of brush sizes, brands, bristle types etc so you have an arsenal to choose from. Some of the most interesting work is where you can see the brush work in the paint.

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