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Paint brush plant care
Care of painting equipment
Basic paint brush care
Tailored to you
You're painting! Now, that's a real accomplishment. So let's celebrate.
Paint brushes are a pain to maintain. The best way to keep them clean, lubed and protected from drying out is to have your paint brush and canvas ready before you start painting. If the paint brush and canvas aren't ready, it's hard to get the paint on the canvas without smudging the paint. You can also damage the paint brush. When you work in multiple steps, as I do, you may not even see the problem. Paint brushes and canvas get dirty, but I rarely notice. Just a quick spray and a wipe, and the brushes are clean. You've won half the battle.
When you do see something you don't like, don't just wipe it away and move on. Look at the problem. Is it really that bad? Did you drop the paint? Have you left your paint brush drying? Is the paint drying out? Did you use the wrong color of paint? If you don't like the job your hands are doing on the brush, it will dry up quicker than you think, and you'll be spending more time washing brushes.
Paint brush types and how to choose
Paint brushes are made from a variety of materials, including wood, animal hair, plastic, sable hair, synthetic fibers and stainless steel. The best brush to use depends on what you're painting and how you want to handle your painting.
Here's a rundown on the most common types of paint brushes. The basic types will take care of most painting projects. If you're learning, look for brushes that have larger bristles that can accommodate a learning curve. Experiment with different sizes and styles and get a feel for what works for you.
Wooden paint brushes
Made of wood, these brushes are best for soft pastels or watercolors, or mediums like acrylic. Wood is porous, so you don't need to clean it as often. As wood dries, it becomes more porous and needs cleaning.
Wooden brush bristles are best in damp conditions to keep the brush saturated with the paint. The longer the handle, the better. The shorter the handle, the better to keep it away from your brush strokes. The wood handles are usually stained.
Wooden paint brushes often have a synthetic or sable hair filling. The hair should be soft enough to work on paper, but it also needs to be strong enough to not fall apart. The long hair is better than short, as it holds the paint and reduces the brush's tendency to tip over.
Synthetic brush bristles can look just like natural hair, or they can look like sable, depending on the manufacturer. They're made from nylon or polyester and have a finer texture than natural bristles. They don't hold as much paint and are usually used with watercolor or acrylic.
Sable brush bristles are made from natural materials like rabbit and add a silky look to watercolor or acrylic paintings. Sable hairs are very strong, have a coarse texture, and don't hold as much paint as synthetic or natural hair. They're better for use with oil paint or paint thinner.
Metal paint brushes
Metal paint brushes are best for more firm paints, like acrylic, or for creating detail or fine lines. Because they're metal, they can take heat and are durable. They're hard to clean, so you may need to wash your brushes often. Metal bristles can look dull if you keep them damp. A fine mist or spraying them will help. To refresh the brush, heat it up for a few seconds and then let it cool and repeat. If the brush warms up for some reason, let it cool down and do it again. It will make your brush look new.
Metal watercolor brushes can be just as good as traditional wood watercolor brushes. The metal bristles work well in watercolor and are durable.
Wood paint brushes
You can find a wide variety of different types of wood brush. All brush sizes are available, from the size of a pencil eraser to a 1½-inch (3.8-cm) bristle. Wood watercolor brushes are just as good as the wooden-handled brushes, but they won't take as much paint as the synthetic brushes.
_Painting the "Lincoln Memorial"_
**_What tools should you keep on hand for this project?_**
• A brush or a sponge applicator
• Watercolor paper
• Watercolor pencils or other thin watercolor tools
**_Tools You Will Need_**
• Watercolor paints
• A white cotton swab, or any clean white material (e.g., a paper towel)
• White card stock
• Black fine-tipped permanent marker
• Red, yellow and orange felt-tip markers
• Watercolor pencils and other watercolor supplies
• Your brush will look the best if you keep it dry. Wet brushes can cause paint to come out in clumps and look messy.
• A white piece of card stock works well to blot out a painting.
• You can always use more or less paint to get the desired color intensity.
• Practice your color mixing before you start painting. You will need to learn to adjust the colors in your painting until you have the exact color balance you want.
**_You Will Need_**
**_To Get Started_**
• On white card stock, draw or trace the circle (see figure 1, page 17).
• Using a permanent marker, draw some shapes and lines inside the circle. (See figure 2, page 17.)
• Use watercolor pencils to add some darker value to the faces of the figures.
**_You Will Need_**
• Draw a picture with the white card stock.
Use a very fine tip and a light color for the hair and lips. The hair will look thinner and smoother and it will make the lips look more finished.
• Add some black fine-tipped permanent marker for the eye outlines.
• Use watercolor pencils to add darker value to the figures and the grass (see figure 3, page 17).
# **Project 6**
I love horse pictures and I like to draw them. I usually choose the horses' positions and sizes before I sketch in their figures. Sometimes I trace a picture of a horse I've drawn, and other times I just draw it out.
**_You Will Need_**
• Paint a 9″ × 12″ (22cm × 30cm) canvas with a bright yellow paint. (See figure 4, page 17.)
• Use white and yellow watercolor pencils to draw the horses (see figure 5, page 17).
• Use watercolor pencils to color in the heads and bodies of the horses. (See figure 6