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Posts tagged ‘artist brushes’

Paintshop: Artist Brushes 101

Artist brushes have been an important part of my painting career since serving as an apprentice. On nearly every interior project, I saw a journeyman painter using them. Favorites were long, thin-handle and fine-bristle brushes to perform precision application tasks.

 

EIGHT COMMON USES FOR ARTIST BRUSHES BY COMMERCIAL PAINTERS

 

  1. To coat the smallest of spots
  2. To paint pencil-fine lines
  3. To edge decorative finished areas
  4. To maneuver paint around sharp curves, odd shapes
  5. To reach into very visible corners
  6. To add very narrow borders, or accent lines in murals
  7. To outline or “in-line” letters, numbers, symbols, etc.
  8. To detail borders, dado, furniture, fixtures, mirror frames, etc.

 

Their usefulness and effectiveness are unlimited. And on a regular basis, an artist brush in hand has made precision craftsmanship very achievable. Even lucrative.

 

BASIC ARTIST BRUSH KIT FOR A PAINTER AND DECORATOR

 

  1. Fitch Brush – flat, Sable bristles. Example: No. 4 ($12.46, http://www.jerrysartarama.com*).
  2. Bright Brush – flat, square tips. Example: No. 8. Uses: Fill in open area, shading.
  3. Angular Tip Brush – 5/8. Uses: Cut in lines, make contour strokes.
  4. Round Brush – No. 3X0 ($8.96*). Uses: Fine detailing; No. 4 ($13.34*). Uses: Fill in narrow areas
  5. Linear Brush – No. 4 (long, thin). Uses: Produe fine lines, edging
  6. Filbert Brush – flat, round bristles/ferrule. No. 2 ($12.06*). Uses: Painting florals, plants.
  7. Fan Brush – No. 2 ($20.85*). Uses: Create irregular texture effects, also paint vegetation.
  8. Polishing Mop – Bushy, full, stout handle. Uses:

 

NINE ARTIST BRUSHES and TOOLS TO ADD AS BUDGET ALLOWS

 

  1. Watercolor Brush – Nos. 0-12. Uses: Touch up, match grain pattern of figures.
  2. Micro mini detail – Creative Mark, set/12/20/0-10/0 ($25/00*). Features: Easy-to-hold handles, synthetic. Uses: Tight spots, small details; spotter, angular shader.
  3. Spalter – Chungking bristle hair, set/3, 1-3 inch flat ($11.99*). Features: Bigger scales, softer bristles. Uses: Blending paint with thin oils/acrylics.
  4. Grumbacher Degas or Gainsborough oil and acrylic – No. 1-12 ($3.79-$14.99*). Features: Flat, Round, Fan, Brush, Filbert.
  5. Mural Brushes – Creative Mark. Golden flat, round, Filbert; White round, flat, Filbert. Nos. 30, 40, 50 ($6.99-$19.99*). Uses: Large scale painting; excellent for acrylics, watercolors, traditional waters and mixable oils.
  6. Grumbacher Fine Hog Bristles – Sizes 1-12; Series 760B-Bright, 760F-Flat 760R-Round, 760Filbert, 760N-Fan. ($2.09-$5.59 *). Features: Strong, durable, manipulative; heavy point; unique taper bristles interlock/maintain shape; easy control placement of color.
  7. Bob Rankin’s Big Bad Brush – 3-inch. ($15.00*). Chungking Hog bristles, flagged ends, seamless brass ferrule. Features: Ends Holds lot of paint, grips color, distributes evenly/quickly. Uses: Blending, wash techniques; robust design allows exerting pressure on strokes; perfect bounce-back/performance.
  8. Bargain Seconds Bristle Set/12 – Creative Mark. ($7.41*). Features: Variety of hairs: pony, ox, camel, bristle.
  9. Wipe-off Tool – ($6.49*). Varnished wood handle, 2 brass ferrules; tips: soft rubber/both sides: chisel, fine point. Uses: Wipe off excess paint quickly/accurately. All media.

 

FIVE ARTIST BRUSHES and TOOLS ESPECIALLY FOR DECORATIVE CRAFTSPERSON

 

  1. Colorwashing Brush – China bristle, nylon/polyester, or Badger. Uses: Work paint and paint glaze combinations onto base coat to achieve “looking-through” effect.
  2. Flogger/Whacking Tools – Long bristle brush, dust mop, car mop, tire brush. Features: Floggers – Absorbent like dense brushes, mops, dusters, car mop. Features: Can apply or suck up glaze. Whackers – Non-absorbent like plastic brushes, tire brushes, toilet/tub cleaning brushes. Uses: Woodgraining; removing parts of wet glaze from surface; creating large-scale texture.
  3. Dragging – Long bristle brush (eg. wallpaper), large comb, rubber window squeegee, driveway surfacing broom. Uses: Emulate striped fabrics; create fine-texture finish, fine lines.
  4. Stippling Brush – Bristles usually larger, mid-length. Uses: Create fine texture of dots, by dabbing repeatedly over surface; create smooth impression from distance, texture close; create “fade-away” appearance. Alternative: Stainer brush. Features: long, dense, flexible bristles.
  5. Sable Short-Handle – Escoda Versatil Synthetic. Sizes 2-22. ($8.00-$57.39*). Features: Exceptional snap; Spring-like Kolinsky hair, perfect point keeps shape; incredible fluid retention; superb absorption; affordable replacement to Kolinsky.

 

By the way, the area may determine the type and number, or size, of the artist brush that you need. Your level of skills and abilities with standard paintbrushes will, more likely, determine which, if any, artist brushes you actually use.

 

In the right hands, a two-inch Purdy or Wooster Trim Brush can work artistic magic. It can paint pencil-thin lines…add pin dots for effect… cut in razor-sharp corners…highlight and detail an artist’s signature.

 

FOOTNOTE: Artist brushes are different than decorative finishing brushes. Some artist brushes are used in applying, then detailing, certain decorative finishes.

 

See: Paintshop: Decorative Painting Brushes and Tools 101

 

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An artist’s hand is often more valuable than an artist’s eye.

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Thanks for stopping by “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Preserving “Bob the Painter’s” Brushes

My father, “Bob the Painter,” died suddenly in 1993. He left behind a huge inventory of painting and decorating products, materials, supplies, tools, and portable equipment.

 

Included were thirty-nine (39) paintbrushes, most of them Purdy or Wooster.

 

. 13 China bristle – for oil-base/alkyd base paints

. 12 synthetic/nylon bristle – for water-base or latex paint products

.   7 lacquering brushes

.  7 faux finishing brushes

.  5 boxes of disposable (cheap) brushes – for building up primers/sealing

 

A tall and skinny, hand-crafted wood cabinet housed over 31 assorted artist brushes.

 

All paintbrushes were in very good-to-excellent shape. Bristles dense and springy, solidly embedded by “plugs” in tight-fitting metal ferrules; and firm, flagged/frayed ends.

 

All brushes were well-maintained, very clean, and no paint/residue build up anywhere.

 

Four China bristle brushes set in a small amount of solvent solution in Dad’s metal brush carrier. And, three or four artist brushes lay in a tray containing “fresh” water.

 

I was amazed – still am – at his attention to tool maintenance. His paintshop in our huge garage always looked in disarray. Yet, in a flash, he could find whatever he needed. Or, he could tell me exactly where to find something.

 

Recently, an e-mail appeared from the contractor to whom we sold most of Dad’s paintshop inventory. He said that his son had taken over the business in 2008. And, most of my dad’s paintbrushes were still being used.

 

That meant that the contractor and son had been doing a great job of maintaining those brushes, too.

 

In 1993, I kept at least nine of Dad’s paint and finishing brushes. I pulled them out last week-end. In an obscure spot on the handle of each brush a year had been etched.

 

On one China bristle brush: 1975; on another: 1986. On one synthetic/nylon bristle brush: 1984; on another: 1992.

 

The latter one may have been the last paintbrush that my dad ever purchased. It’s a 2-inch, angled sash with chisel tips. It’s like new and still in its Purdy holder. Even though I know that I’ve used that brush hundreds of times since 1993.

 

Great, well-made paintbrushes last. In fact, they get better and better with age. Just like some people and pets that I’ve known, too.

 

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Treat your paintbrushes better than your girlfriend or wife;

And they will support you well throughout your life.

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Take care. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

PAINTING IT: NIGHT SKIES OVER BED

Retired sign designer and painter Steve and his wife, Sara, were going legally blind. Their shared passion, since college, had been astronomy.

 

One of their prized telescopes was an ED 127MM Apochromatic refractor. A favorite for its astrophotography capabilities. Steve and Sara’s model had been equipped to capture, enlarge and edit what they were no longer able to see clearly, even with corrective lenses.

 

Trying to look at narrow framed close-ups was not the same as gazing at the panoramic span of the heavens. Especially at night. From their back porch.

 

So, two years ago May, the couple convinced me to paint the night skies onto their 18 by 24 foot bedroom ceiling. They knew that, at the time, my vision wasn’t much better than theirs. (I still had problems with focus, blurriness, redness, and burning caused by repeated exposure to toxic levels of mold, and concentrated chlorine bleach solution.)

 

The “Skies the Limit” Layout Decision

 

Steve and Sara thought about extending the “galaxy grid” down each wall, 8-10 inches. I questioned the idea. “Too dark…could cause sensations that the ceiling/roof/sky was falling in…”

 

To help them decide, I convinced them to allow their son and me to stretch dark king-sized flat bed sheets across the entire ceiling. For one night. By eight o’clock the next morning, at least half of the sheets had been taken down. Steve said, “The walls were shrinking in on us…”

 

Pre-Painting Step: Gridding in the Galaxy

 

As a template, I used the big enlargement of a photo taken by Sara for Steve’s 60th birthday. When both of their green-eyed sights were perfect: 20/20 vision.

 

Using her MacBook Pro and a projector, Sara transposed the image onto the ceiling. That helped me to “grid” and mark the location of stars, planets, etc.

 

The Painting Process

 

Note: Unless noted otherwise, I used Sherwin-Williams paint and finishing products.

 

1. A thinned-down coat of color no. SW 6565, Rarified Blue matte latex ceiling paint was rolled on, serving as a primer. Allowed natural drying time: 24 hours.

 

2. The ceiling was “feather-sanded” with no. 400 sandpaper. A thorough “rag-wipe” followed, using absorbent NEW cloths.

 

3. Next, I rolled on a base coat of Cosmos Blue semi-gloss latex paint, to which I’d added 3 drops of Iridescent Ivory Black acrylic. Liquitex artist paint. Allowed natural drying time: 3 hours.

 

4. Then, I damp “feather-sanded” the ceiling, working toward each galactical marking. Drying time: until the next morning.

Note: To preserve those galactical markings, I covered each with an uncut stencil, made from poster board. Each stencil was grid-numbered, and affixed in place with a small, finger-rolled strip of blue masking tape.

 

5. With the stencils back in place, I sprayed a thin coat of Indigo (midnight) Blue semi-gloss acrylic latex. Used sometimes for set/scenic painting. Drying time: 4 hours.

 

6. Using artists brushes, I detailed in all of the stars, planets, rings, etc.

A. Undercoat paint: Cadmium Yellow,* high-gloss mixed with Gesso.

B. Overcoat paint: Iridescent Titanium White,* semi-gloss.

C. Linings/indents: Yellow (deep) Gold matte.* Also used: Hansa Yellow Light.* Manufacturer: Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints. Note: Excellent for experimental techniques. Natural drying times: Under coat, overcoat – 3 hours each. Lining work: 18 hours.

* Note: This process took only two-and-a-half days, surprisingly. (My eyes watered and ached, though I used, at all times, either safety eye goggles and a breathing mask, or a full-face breathing apparatus.

 
7. Next, I rag-wiped the ceiling. Fabric: 12 by 12 inch squares, Natural muslin, used in quilting.

 

8. Stars Finish Detailing: Using artist brushes*, I dotted and dabbed Iridescent clear glitter into each star. Glitter mixed 4-to-1 parts with Hansa Yellow Light (tinted with Iridescent Titanium white low gloss. Mfgr: Liquitex acrylics. * Detail brushes used: No. 2 bright; Nos. 2 and 4 Filbert; No. 2 flat.

 

9. Feather finish: Using artist brushes,* I blended three colors of Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints from outer edges of stars, planets, etc. into surrounding skies. Colors used: Cobalt Blue Dark; Cobalt Blue Light; Ultramarine Blue. * Detail brushes: Universal angle 1-inch flat; 2-inch flat; 1-inch Universal flat freestyle.

 

10. Ceiling finish coat: Spray painted a fine coat of Clear semi-gloss latex Into the paint pot mixture, I’d added 5 drops of Iridescent Rich Silver.

 

Technique used: I sprayed with a pin nozzle. I used a subtle arc movement with my arm. And, I released the spray gun’s lever, for a few seconds, over each galactical element. I did not spray with any steady back-and-forth motion.

 

THE EFFECT:

Beyond imagination! Reflective, with sensation that either the stars and constellations, or the viewers, were moving or rotating slightly.

 

SARA and STEVE in 2015.

Sara is totally blind. Every evening before bed, she and Steve sit together, in their leather Lazy-Boy loungers, or in bed. Under their stars.

 

Hotel/Facility Painter/Decorator Footnote:

This ceiling treatment can make an awesome addition to any ceiling in a hotel. Examples: KidsSuite, “Honeymoon Suite,” club/entertainment stage, game room. That is, if the budget allows for the purchase of the variety of products and supplies needed. And the hours of detail work by a creative, detail-oriented staff painter can be justified.

 

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Friends’ favorite rooms deserve special treatment from friends.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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