Cleaning Oil Painting Brushes after a days work...

Unlike my watercolours where I use only a few brushes (Winsor and Newton Series 7, no's: 3 & 6, a mop or flat, rigger and fan), for oil painting I have a wide selection but mainly from three ranges.

A selection of both size and shapes (long flat, round and filbert) from Pro Arte's Series 201 which have a wonderful soft feel when painting, something that's not to every one taste.

A number of Pro Arte's Series 103 Riggers.

Again a selection of size and shapes (long & short flats plus filbert) from Rosemary & Co's Chunking Bristle Series 2015, 2035, 2045. Slightly stiffer than the Pro Arte but again superb to work with.

Update: Rosemary has brought out some new ranges since this post which I now also use...

I should make it clear I'm not connected to the above companies other than I use their products.

I prefer to have a two or three of the same size so that when working one will be for the light colours/tones, another for mid colours/tone and one for dark colours/tone.

A single brush in a range of sizes and/or shapes would be more that enough when starting out in oil painting, the above selection has come through trial and experiment over a number of years. A lot is also down to your own style and feel so go out and try some... Art festivals e.g. Patchings Art and Craft Festival (5-8th June 2008) are a wonderful place to try out the products and to ask all the questions of the maker.

Cleaning Oil Painting Brushes:
Having completed the day's painting the brushes are first washed in turps or other paint thinners are available e.g. Zest It which smell better (but costs more) to get rid of most of the oil paint - a one/two litre container with screw cap is ideal. I've found that Turps etc, never gets rid of all the oil paint near the ferrel, so I then clean the brush in soap (an ordinary bar of soap). By rubbing the brush head on the soap to create a lather then working that in the palm of your hand, like you were painting, the soap forces the oil paint out from around the ferrel. The process is repeated until no paint colour is evident in the soap. Finally wash the brush in warm water (never hot) and allow to dry upright (not on hair end) ready for the next day.

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