Using brushes for oil paint seems discouraged by many of the sources I’ve looked at about keeping toxicity minimized. My first days of playing with oils, I just used palette knifes and scrapers. I like the energy I get in the marks from the hard edge tools. They introduce a kind of controlled haphazardness that allows me to convey more of the storminess I’ve been looking for in my landscapes.
When I try to paint trees with the hard edge tools, I get frustrated. I keep picking the paint up when I’m trying to put it down. The branches look heavy or I end up scratching them out.
After being frustrated, I finally decided to just pick up a brush. So much more familiar. I like being able to control the flow of the paint by adding mediums. Not that I really understand them yet, but at least I can have a full range of marks that are more familiar.
I dreaded cleaning the first brush, remembering the nasty smelling cans of turpentine from art school. That gave me intense headaches. I tried baby oil instead. It took the paint right out. It was way easier than I thought it would be.
I’m happy. Now I feel I can use all the tools without worrying about restrictions.