First of all, brushes. A good brush is essential. I was introduced to Rosemary and Co Brushes a few years ago and they are the only brushes I now use. They are handmade in the UK, which you might think makes them expensive. Not the case at all. They are exquisite, and at $4-15 per brush, for the varieties that I use, I'm happy to have them shipped over.
What makes these brushes so delightful is that they hold their shape, they carry the oil paint really well, and leave very few brush marks behind. I love a smooth texture in my paintings so having a brush that doesn't leave each stroke in the paint is great.
Clean up is also really easy. I use plain old Linseed oil to clean my brushes with a touch of Murphy's Oil Soap for a deeper clean. With proper care these brushes will last a long time.
Next up: Paint.
Winsor & Newton Artists' Grade paint has been my go to paint over the years. I find the pigments to be rich and smooth. These paints blend really well with one another also. The only exception is the Titanium White, which is very stiff, so it requires a little thinning and more mixing with the pigments.
Winsor & Newton is not the most expensive paint, or the most exotic. Old Holland paint, for example, dates back to 1664 and the Dutch master painters like Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals. I'm curious what it is like to paint with, however, at $109 for a 40ml tube of Cad Yellow, I think it will be awhile before I invest in this paint.
What I have explored is Gamblin Paint.
My idea is that the quality is a little higher than Winsor & Newton and the consistency of the paint is really lovely. The Titanium White from Gamblin is buttery smooth. My next painting I'm going to use Gamblin exclusively to see what difference it makes in the overall painting. Exciting. I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Mediums and additives.
This is a tricky topic in the oil painting world because there all sorts of conflicting opinions. There are those artists who have used additives for years and have no problem whatsoever. While others recommend not to use these same mediums because of longevity issues, delamination, yellowing over time, etc. To avoid the conflicting opinions and perhaps issues over time, I've decided not to use any mediums or additives beyond simply linseed oil. Linseed oil is the carrier oil the paint companies use for their pigments. This creates a harmonious union between the layers of paint that I use and will not have any trouble over time.
What I want to ensure is that when you purchase one of my paintings they are stable over time and if they need to be retouched an archivist can do that easily. If there are additives it can be difficult for a restoration to happen because those additives don't allow for future paint to be added or for the additive layer to be easily removed before the restoration.
My goal is to use fine materials, with my painting skills to create a painting that will become an heirloom for you and your family. I love that longevity piece. Creating things that will last over time.
Leave me any comments you have below. I hope you have enjoyed this foray into the materials that I use in the studio.