Bristle brushes

Even though I sometimes disparage bristle brushes, I use them all the time. I use them for medium or broad passages–not for finer areas.

Like most students, I was taught that real painters used bristles (‘hogs’), and the bigger the better. Of course, this only led to frustration on those times when I worked on small-format paintings.

I have a pretty good assortment of medium-to-big hogs. I also have a collection of smaller hogs that I almost never use. If I need bigger brushes, I use house-painter brushes.

The rounds in the middle bucket are why I am writing this post. I bought the yellow Isabey rounds from an art supplier who was going out of business. I got a great price for the brushes you see here.

The Isabey rounds are excellent brushes. Some are starting to show their age now but they’ve seen a lot of action and held up. They’re well behaved and good performers.

The problem I have with them is that they don’t cover as quickly as the flats, nor are they as precise as sables. They’re neither fish nor fowl. So I sometimes find myself reaching for other brushes. I’ve gone without picking one up for months at a time.

Just now, however, I am back to happily using them again. When used rightly, they serve for 60% of the work; more during a painting’s earlier stages.

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