Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Wrap a Brush

Hey gang,

Here's a video of me wrapping my paintbrush after a good day's work, to prevent them from getting frayed. It helps keep 'em nice and flat so that you can use the thin edge to do nice thin lines and the flat side to do thicker strokes:)


lipking said...

Good idea but I dont have the energy after a long day painting to wrap up 20 brushes.
Did you hear from David?

Kristy Gordon said...

hehehee, yeah, I barely have the energy either after a lonnggg day of painting either, but somehow at the end of most days, blurry vision and all I'll wrap up at least a couple of 'em for use for the next day... but heh heh, if I could paint like you I wouldn't have to worry about such things;) and nope, no definite word from David yet, but I'm crossing my fingers all over the place:)

Vanwall said...

I get it now. I couldn't quite visualize that - it makes a lot more sense to me after watching. Always wondered what one did with the flats. Out of curiosity, is the newsprint ink a contaminate? Don't quite trust those loose inks.

You have a painter's fingers, and wrist movements, BTW, it was a joy to watch - muscle memory may be an acquired trait, but you have to start out with the innate talent. I was always fascinated with Dürer's self-portraits of his hands - yours could be his in action.

Kristy Gordon said...

that's neat about my hands! i was noticing how much they're looking like my Mom's hands (the skin on them is getting thinner then it once was)

Yeah, somebody asked Yuqi about that too, but he thought it was okay. I don't really know for sure, but i definitely know that it doesn't affect the colours any... maaayybbee technically the ink could be a contaminate, but I really don't think so... I wonder if anyone else out there knows more on the subject?

Hryma said...

I'd say the likelihood of contamination, after the paints have diluted the news print, would be so minuscule that it wouldn't be worth worrying about.
That's just my thought?

Do you have any thoughts on laying the brushes flat in a roller tray or a similar slanted tray with neatsfoot-oil,
then cleaning the hairs with turps prior use? And water in place of neatsfoot and turps for your acrylic brushes?

Just wondering.

Cool, thanks for sharing Kristy.

Kristy Gordon said...

Hmmm.. let me make sure I understand... do you mean like a paint roller tray for painting your house? and leaving your brushes in that in water? I have a feeling that leaving your brushes to sit in water isn't the greatest. It can damage the glue in the ferrol and make your brush start shedding hairs. Perhaps the best would be to just wash them after use and then let them lay flat to dry (so that the water that you've just washed them in doesn't "sit" in the ferrol as it dries - like if you have your brushes standing up:) Does that help at all? Or did you mean something else?

Oh yeah, and thanks for your thoughts about the loose inks in the newsprint! Yeah, I've heard before from Juan martinez, who is really good at keeping on top of what is archival and what isn't, that you can actually add almost anything to your paints, as long as you do it in small amounts (I had asked him before about things like wax and stuff, but yeah, so I'm pretty darn sure that the inks in the newsprint would be fine:)

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this!!!

Vanwall said...

Like a good martini, dry is best. I would think neats-foot oil, which is great for my fielder's mitt, isn't so good for the adhesives in the ferrules of brushes, even if it's pure, and I'm not sure how it reacts with keratin. Clean and dry is best for preservation, I've heard, and if you're worried about the actual hairs' long-term usefulness, i.e. whether they will behave the same way when used intermittently over long periods, it wouldn't hurt if the actual surface of the hair was strengthened periodically and kept at a reasonably constant ph in a fairly narrow range - a good quality hair conditioner with tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E) was the treatment of choice for certain painters. Then again, this wrapping method is prolly at least as good, as it isolates the brush from an intrusive reality - air and light.

Kristy Gordon said...

oohh, cool about the Keratin and the vit E conditioner! I do actually occasionally rub a little conditioner into the natural hair brushes that I have, and it's especially nice when I do that before I wrap 'em up like this! Also, I use just plain linseed oil to clean my brushes:)

I actually emailed my friend, Matthew Innis, about this, and he had a lot of useful tips to give!! Here they are:

I'd say skip the use of neatsfoot oil; use something that you wouldn't mind adding to your oil paint in case the brush isn't cleaned thoroughly with turps afterward. Different plant derived oils have been used for centuries and we have a better understanding of how they react chemically. I have no idea what neatsfoot will do, considering it is animal derived. It seems to stay liquid at lower temperatures, which could affect the drying time of the oil paint. Also, there are different qualities of neatsfoot, some of which contain driers, and those driers too could affect the oil paint. Stick with something tried and true.

I would suggest linseed oil, walnut oil, or safflower oil; all of which are used to grind pigments. Laying the brushes flat in a painting tray filled with linseed oil concerns me, just because I'm afraid the oil would seep into the handle at the ferrule and loosen it and the hairs. (this concern might be unfounded, as the viscosity of the oil might make this fear moot).

What some artists do, and I have tried this too, is to suspend the brushes tip down in a coffee can filled with a few inches linseed oil. Poke the brush handles through the coffee can lid, to allow the brushes to "float" in the oil. Never allow the brush hairs to rest against the sides or bottom of the can. (Ralph Mayer in The Artist's Handbook suggests a half and half mixture of turps and linseed oil.) When ready to begin the next session, just wipe the oil off with a rag, and begin painting.

Some people who disdain cleaning their brushes with OMS or turps, just use oil and elbow grease. Marvin, for example, only uses M Graham's walnut oil to clean his brushes. In the end, maybe this is the best with natural hair brushes, since the oils will condition the hair, while the OMS is more likely to dry out the hairs over time.

I would never lay acrylic brushes in a tray of water. That would definitely loosen the ferrule.

Hryma said...

Ok, cool cool, thanks for the pointers! Yep I meant a 'paint roller tray'.
I've tried the linseed oil thing before because I didn't have any neatsfoot (which is what I usually use)but it wasn't my favourite, I found that if I left my brushes for any number of time that the linseed dries out and made the hairs less supple, pretty much coarse/brittle actually.
It's good to hear other peoples experiences.
I don't know see, as a signwriter we were told to use neatsfoot or vasoline for storing our enamel brushes (this was even taught at trade school)and we added linseed to our enamel paints if we were blending/shading colours, since the linseed dries out but gives a longer working time.
But remembering to totally clean your brushes of any neatsfoot because it doesn't dry out.
But it seems to be a different case with portrait and landscape painting compared with commercial signage? Again I'm not sure but I'm willing to try these tips.
I did find that the acrylic brushes that were in a tray of water while I was a signy did loose the occasional hair (mostly the cheaper brushes) in that case I think it comes down to cleaning your brushes thoroughly, keeping in mind these were long haired brushes and if they weren't cleaned properly they would 'snake tongue' because of the dried paint up in the base of the hairs (my experience, I just wondered about that, should have mentioned it last time:)
So now I let them dry flat, I'm about 75% happy with this but they dont have that same 'floppyness' that I preffered with them being always 'wet'. Even if I thought I had cleaned them properly, I could come back the next day and find colour still washed out when rinsed. I don't want the ferrule to stuff up.


Kristy Gordon said...

Hey Anth! That's interesting to hear about how you were taught in the sign painting world! I had never heard of neatsfoot before this, but it's good to hear about what's out there:)Yeah, I know what you mean about linseed oil drying on the brushes sometimes and making them stiff. I always wash my brushes really thoroughly after rinsing them in linseed oil with either just plain soap and water, or castile soap, which is actually made with a base of coconut oil,but acts like a soap (foams up and everything - get it at natural health food stores or even just the natural section of most grocer stores) and is AMAZING for getting the final bits of linseed oil and paint out of my brushes! anyway, thanks for opening up this discussion! It was great to hear about what people are doing to care for their brushes!!

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