|Durable Artist Brushes|
- Constantly using a thin brush of size 6 or smaller to cover a large area of oil painting.
- Using a fine sable to apply paint onto a rough surface such as coarse canvas, dried impasto or a montage.
- Being heavy-handed with the fine art bristles such as when scumbling, scrubbing on paint or pressing too hard.
- Using cheap household turps or white spirits to clean the brushes.
- Not cleaning the paint brushes properly at the end of the painting session and allowing a residue of oil paint to dry near the ferrule (the metal collar where the bristles meet the handle) causing the bristles to splay.
- Allowing the paint brushes to dry bristle-end down, causing the hairs to lose their shape and damage the flags (the split ends on the bristles that allow the brush to hold more paint).
- Buying poor quality art brushes or brushes that are unsuitable for oil painting such as watercolour brushes, which are not designed for heavy paint.
- Never use fine sables, such as kolinsky for impasto, rough paintwork or for covering large areas of a painting such as skies or water.
- Reserve such an art technique for hog hair brushes or similar stiff brushes. Impasto brushes need not be purchased from art shops, but DIY stores at the fraction of the price. Household brushes can be used for covering large areas of an oil painting or for glazing.
- Use sable brushes only for what they are designed for, which is fine detail, delicate oil washes and soft blending.
- Never use household turps to clean art brushes. Not only are the odours powerful, the brushes will lose their natural oils and become brittle. It is best to use Sansador, Turpenoid or similar artist white spirit.
- At the end of each painting session, clean the brushes thoroughly. Massage neat washing up liquid into the ferrule and run under a warm tap until the water runs clear.
- Once clean, massage a little Vaseline into the bristles and press the hairs back into shape; in the case of round sables or riggers, to a point. Other nourishing agents such as conditioner or olive oil can also be used.
- Store the brushes in a jar with the bristles pointing upwards.
- It is false economy to purchase cheap oil painting brushes. Recommended art brush manufacturers such as Daler Rowney and Winsor & Newton will last longer and are worth the investment.