Jun 1, 2017

Our Favorite Brushes & How We Use Them

Painting is hard enough without having to deal with crummy brushes!

When I switched to Rosemary & Co. brushes, it felt like driving a Lamborghini after years of driving clunkers. Have I ever driven a Lamborghini? Well, no… but I imagine it feels like using Rosemary & Co. brushes! And no, Rosemary didn't pay me to say that. :)

Rosemary Thompson (owner of U.K.-based Rosemary & Co.) and her crew hand-craft fantastic brushes that are used by many of today's leading artists.

First, just a few disclaimers
to get out of the way:
  • There are many other brands of brushes
    that Andrea and I have never tried.
     
  • There are several other varieties of
    Rosemary & Co. brushes that we've never tried.
     
  • We use the brushes mentioned below because they are well-made and give us the results we want. In the end, I recommend you try a bunch of brushes and discover which ones work best for you!
     
With that said, here are the Rosemary & Co. brushes we use and how we use them:

Ultimate Bristles

 

"We take two equal amounts of best quality Chinese bristle
and set them opposite each other so that the natural curve
is facing inwards… this gives the artist a hard wearing brush
which keeps its shape for a very long time."

—Rosemary & Co.

Ultimate Bristles can pick up and lay down large amounts of paint, making them perfect for blocking in. Andrea and I use flats and filberts in a wide range of sizes. These have become our main "workhorse" brushes.

Ivory

 

"The Ivory is synthetic bristle at its best,
a cross between the feel of nylon and hog bristle."

—Rosemary & Co.

Ivory brushes are not quite as stiff as traditional bristle brushes, so we prefer the Ultimate Bristles for blocking in large areas. However, the Ivory brushes can achieve sharper edges, so they're ideal for drawing precise lines and making sharp-edged shapes. We use flats, filberts and riggers in medium and smaller sizes. We generally prefer the "springier" feel of the regular-length hairs over the longer hairs.

 

Pure Red Sable

 

"...a good choice when flexibility is needed, [and it]
carries the paint with flow and precision. So many marks
can be produced from just one good sized pointed brush."

—Rosemary & Co.

These brushes are extremely versatile—the soft hair is great for softening edges and creating smooth blends. In addition, the brush's ability to retain its shape makes it able to create razor-sharp edges. We use Series 7320 Pure Sable One Stroke brushes in medium and small sizes.

•••

Rosemary & Co. brushes can be purchased through their website or from a U.S. supplier such as Wind River Arts.

Next time, I'll address something many people ask about—our plein air easels!

See you then,
—Adam

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