Thursday 7 December 2017

Equipment #2 Oil Paint Brushes

I love Rosemary & Co brushes, why? High quality, easy to clean, keep their shape for ages, lovely to use! (no, I'm not sponsored by them sadly!)
I used to use their Ivory range a synthetic bristle, a cross between the feel of nylon and hog bristle, they are an excellent brush for all round mark making.

I now use The Ultimate Bristle a traditional brush which has interlocking Chinese bristles - this makes them springy, wonderful to use and easy to clean, they are firmer than the Ivory range which gives a more painterly and brushy quality to your work.

Rigger Ivory useful for lines and details, the Round Ivory is the similar. 

Pro Arte Sterling Series 201
Synthetic, soft but manages oil paint well, good for detail and blocking in areas. Nice to use. 
I use long handles as I stand to paint and you need that extra length.

Bamboo Brush roll I brought mine (see pic) from Rosemary & Co. It has 8 pockets and you can put more than one brush in each, plus short or long handles. It allows the brushes to breath and doesn't squash the bristles.

Ceramic Brush Rest (See bottom right pic) Stops brushes rolling about and saves your tables and surfaces.

Brush cleaner Everyone seams to clean brushes in a different way. I use low odour solvent first and some sort of soap. Either: Murphy Oil Soap (USA) washing up liquid or Pears hand soap. 

Pots in Photo These are my extra brushes! Hard to throw away when they get used or types I've liked in the past but now changed my painting process or subject and they don't fit me now. For example Short Flat Ivory brushes I find them too soft for the result I want, 

I haven't written the next equipment post yet, I will be covering pochade, tripods, carrying bags, Palette Garage & how to transport equipment and wet paintings......See my previous post for Oil Paint, thank you Clare


  1. Hi Clare,
    Is there any particular reason to use the Sterling and the Ivory brushes? They are both synthetic.

    1. Hi Francois, Good question... Reasons to use these brushes - good quality, wash well, I like the type of marks they make. Sometimes I want a softer brush mark that you get with synthetic. For example like blocking in a mass of trees in the distance -
      it goes down on the board quickly and easily. Other times I want a strong foreground brush stroke so use a bristle 'Ultimate' brush. Hope this is clearer? What do you use? Clare

  2. Hi Clare,

    Thanks for your prompt answer! My question was a little bit different. Sterling and Ivory are two synthetic brush series produced by two different manufacturers. Why not restrict your choice to a single series?
    On my side, I mainly use bristle brushes (Pro Arte, Rosemary, Leonard... and some nylon ones (2 rounds and 2 riggers - Prolene series size 4 from Pro Arte) for details. I have tried the Ivory series but they are, as you mentioned in your post, too soft. Sorry for this misunderstanding. Francois

    1. Hi Francois, ok, so I use both brands because I like the Ivory as they are slightly firmer than a normal synthetic and their riggers are great to use. The Sterling I tend to use for blocking in and the small round for small details. Hope this is clearer! Clare

  3. Thanks Clare! Now it's clear Francois