The morning session with Agamemnon and Orestes was slow and easy. With a large painting like this (44″ x 60″), I use hog bristle brushes for most of the work. Today I used 5s and 6s. You can see some of them on the easel table. I always dip my brushes in oil when I put them down to take a break. I never stand them in cans of solvents. Solvents are murder on brushes and standing a brush ferrule-down is the best way to destroy its shape.
When the painting gets farther along, I’ll use some kolinsky sables.
Some beginners (as well as some experienced painters) believe that one should only use bristle brushes for oils. And then only large ones. You should choose brushes based on the scale of the work; the smaller the painting, the smaller the brushes. Some say you must only use bristle brushes because of the way canvas tears up brushes. While it’s true that canvas is rougher on brushes than paper, it’s easy enough to create a smooth surface for oils. I prefer smooth surfaces and so my main brush-destroying concerns are solvents and driers, which is why I soak my brushes in oil.