BRUSHES - HAIR TYPES
Most so called oil and watercolour brushes are suitable for both (or all media) depending entirely on the hair type. But do not use different mediums with the same brush
SABLE is the Rolls Royce of soft hair brushes. lt offers great point, great spring and has fantastic colour carrying capacity. Sable hair is suitable for all mediums.
OX HAIR is not very common in today's market place and has largely been replaced with synthetic hair.
For the people who cannot afford sable.
SQUIRREL HAIR A soft and generally dark coloured hair particularity suitable for watercolour as it carries a lot of water. Does not offer the spring of a sable but is not as expensive. A delight to use in watercolour painting. Best examples of squirrel are the wire bound mops such as the NEEF 117 (Red handle Alvaro Castagnet mop brush) amongst many others.
PONY, CAMEL, HORSE & GOAT HAIR Generally all cheaper types of squirrle hair
TAKLON until recently (say the last 20 years) all brushes were made from animal hair. That is until the
advent of synthetically made hair. The original examples were not so good but the later versions starting
with the NEEF Robert Wade series of brushes are really quite amazing in their performance and reasonably priced.They offer a great point, great spring and precise control. A delight to use and suitable for all media particularly when brush marks are not required in the paint film. They do not carry as much colour as sable/squirrel but are a fraction of the price and offer great value.
TAKLON / SQUIRREL MIX a relatively new development has been the marrying together of squirrel and taklon. TAKLON for point and spring. SQUIRREL for colour carrying capacity. This mix gives a suberb brush for watercolour in particular at a much lower price than sable.
SYNTHETIC 95 SERIES this brush has been our most successful seller over the last 5 years for acrylic painting. The bristles are stiff and have great snap and amazing control. The 95 series bristles clean very easily. The long handle is a dark green.
HOGHAIR the best example is the so called 100% interlocked hoghair blue handle Neef 1150. Probably 90% of oil painting would be done with hoghair. This bristle leaves brush marks in the paint film where required and only the best quality Chunking bristles are selected. An extra length of hair is inserted into the ferrule formed into a mould and oven heated for a short time, giving the bristles greater spring. All of this quality control enables the interlocked bristle to retain its shape and resilience over many years.
MONGOOSE (lndian sable/ badger) mongoose brushes are very satisfying to paint oils and acrylics with. A little courser than sable and not as expensive but they offer great control and spring e.g. 450, 455, 460, 465, 470.
In addition to handle size and hair type some important brush shapes are briefly listed as follows
All have their different effects and advantages
FLATS - Flat ferrule but with square end
BRIGHTS - Flat ferrule but with square end. Shorter hair length than a flat. To make distinct definite marks.
FILBERTS - flat ferrule with rounded hair end. A versatile brush gives softer finish than the flats or bright.
ROUNDS - Round ferrule with round pointed hair. Very popular (as are the filberts) with tonal painters.
FANS - Fan shaped brushes are great for adding highlights in grass and foliage. They are also good for blending.
RIGGERS - round ferrule with extra long hair coming to a fine point in sable hair, taklon, synthetic or a combination
WASH BRUSH - also called an oval or sky brush. Flat ferrule with filbert type rounded hair best example Neef 4600
OTHERS - there are many more specialist brush types. These include ticket & sign writers spotter's cats, tongue, daggers, liners, quill liners etc but the most common and popular come under the types listed above.
Your brushes well maintained will give satisfaction for many years. So buy the best brushes you can afford for your purpose and wash carefully ensuring that all paint is removed fiom the hair particularly around the ferrule. Store safely until the next painting session.
Kerosene is kinder to your brush than turpentine as a cleaner after oil painting. It keeps your brush moist where as your brushes tend to become brittle when cleaning with mineral turps. Form the brush into shape using Vaseline after cleaning.