Help needed [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Help needed

06-06-2016, 01:28 PM
What make of brushes should I use for oils? I'm on my second ever oil painting I'll post some progress pics and any advice is welcome as I'm really struggling with it.

06-06-2016, 02:12 PM
This might help you ^-^

M Winther
06-06-2016, 10:08 PM
You mustn't use a lead pen, because the lines will show through with time. As far as I know, all oil painters use flat hog brushes (flat/filbert/bright), because they are versatile and they leave visible brushstrokes. Personally, I use the brand Beckers and prefer the 'bright' variant. Unlike watercolourists, oil painters wear down their brushes. So one cannot expect to keep them for long. Today, there are good synthetic brushes, too. But I don't think that oil painters use them much. Here is a link about brushes:


06-07-2016, 01:23 AM
Thank you!! Do you have a direct link of what brushes to buy? I'm lost lol

06-07-2016, 05:51 AM
Hi Vvenste. I'm pretty sure you'll find somewhere along the way that just about everything to do with art turns out to be personal choice, ie, no set rules on what to paint and use etc. People (including very famous artists) have used just about every type of brush and experimenting is almost always the best way to decide what you use.
Oil painting is different because people paint with sticks, pallete knives, credit cards, even fingers in addition to every sort of brush known. I have a whole jar full of brushes including an old toothbrush and one brush that looks like my dog chewed it. Rules rarely exist that can't be changed, ignored or personalised. That's art for you. :wink:

M Winther
06-07-2016, 08:12 AM
Just go to the nearest artists' shop and purchase a few hog brushes of decent quality, preferably the smaller sizes, because big brushes are not so useful, except for large canvases.

Desdichado mentioned toothbrush. Indeed, science fiction painters use these when painting star clusters. You fill it with white paint and then bend the hairs backwards and let it go. The pattern created is little white dots, randomly spread on the canvas.


06-07-2016, 04:01 PM
Progress update

Susan Mulno
06-07-2016, 07:34 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Love the rabbit!

M Winther
06-07-2016, 11:49 PM
Why paint a fantasy-dragon when you can paint a real dragon, which once roamed the earth: Hatzegopteryx. ( /Mats

06-23-2016, 04:19 PM
Every brush has a purpose. However, for beginners I find that the stiff, hog-bristle brushes tend to "plow up" about as much paint as they apply, making it difficult for a beginner to handle. Granted, stiff, natural bristles have their place, but for a beginner, my opinion is that they could very well discourage the beginner from progressing any further.

I use, and recommend to my students the Taklon synthetic bristle brushes. They are soft, and flexible, but with enough spring to apply the paint effectively. My second choice would be the white nylon bristle brushes. I also prefer long-handled brushes, and the longer the handle, the better.

I recommend viewing the painting at as far a distance as possible while painting. It is easier to compare against the original subject as you are painting, and a greater viewing distance aids in getting items placed in their correct locations in the painting.

M Winther
06-24-2016, 03:13 AM
That's interesting. I have a few Taklon and nylon brushes. Taklon holds paint fine, but the hairs are thinner and won't leave equally pronounced marks. The 'bright' hog brushes have this characteristic that they may remove paint, but many artists use this to an advantage. They are designed to cover an area by making many short strokes, thus increasing the colour 'vibration' in the paint layer. Many artists buy only 'flat' hog brushes, which have longer hairs and are easier to handle. But as they are worn down, they become 'bright' brushes, which are useful, also.

In my view, brush marks, as well as other structural elements, are very important. It leaves the artist's signature on the painting. Many art experts can determine only from the brush marks which artist has likely painted it. The tactile aspect is valuable because it makes the painting more material, that is, it is not merely a representation of something else, but is a material object in its own right.

This tactile aspect is evident in old still lifes, but in another way. Below painting is by Luis Meléndez (1716–1780). The Old Masters tried to create an illusion that was even more real than everyday reality, so that one almost wants to snatch a piece of cheese from the painting.

However, most people, today, aren't prepared to make this enormous effort, and that's why it's important to make the painting tangible by other means. Braque added sand to his paintings, and he use much pastose paint. Interestingly, he sometimes used a lead pen, because he liked that the drawing showed through.

This emphasizes the creative aspect. Visible brush strokes are like moments in time that have become imprinted in paint, and thus one gets the impression that it was painted yesterday. It enhances the feeling of reality, and therefore also the artistic value.

Mats Winther

M Winther
06-24-2016, 06:20 AM
I should add that Braque put great effort in imitating marble and wood in his paintings. This was to achieve the effect of a material and tangible reality, i.e., something that we are familiar with through the sense of touch. Arguably, the still life is the highest art form, because it is all about tangibility. The artist is standing very close to the object, so that may touch it, unlike in landscape painting. Therefore the latter has more the character of depiction. At least, this is how one could understand Braque's great preference for still lifes.


06-28-2016, 04:21 PM
I believe I'll stick with my original recommendation that for beginners, the use of stiff, natural hair bristles may be discouraging, because of the manner that they deposit the paint.

There is always plenty of opportunity when reaching the final, uppermost layers of an oil painting to lay the paint on thickly, with impasto strokes that show, and with all the 3-dimensionality that goes with it, but for beginning, underlayers, a smooth, brush stroke-free surface is much easier with which to work.

It is terribly difficult to apply fresh paint over a textured, impasto, dried, oil paint surface, and for the initial, block-in layers I'd always recommend a softer, flat brush for that purpose.

There is plenty of time to glob the paint on, using thick, impasto applications of paint, even with a stiff brush that leaves those choice brush strokes and marks. But, for beginning painters, with beginning layers, I'd still recommend a soft, Taklon bristle brush.:smile: