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.

tree

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.

oil painted tree in progress

I dreaded cleaning theĀ  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.

oil painting with brushes

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6 Comments

  1. I haven’t heard the admonition to avoid brushes from my few painting friends in NCY. I’ve only read things suggesting the use of various size brushes. As a result I’ve only played with brushes (and of course have a long way to go with them.) As you know I use toxic products, but I’ve been taught to clean my brushes using dish soap in my hand with warm water. If it works with toxic products, perhaps it will work with yours. (Platex gloves if contact is a concern.)

  2. I haven’t heard the admonition to avoid brushes from my few painting friends in NCY. I’ve only read things suggesting the use of various size brushes. As a result I’ve only played with brushes (and of course have a long way to go with them.) As you know I use toxic products, but I’ve been taught to clean my brushes using dish soap in my hand with warm water. If it works with toxic products, perhaps it will work with yours. (Platex gloves if contact is a concern.)

    • The washing brushes in soap and water seems so strange. But I guess you can remove grease and such from pans with dish soap, so it makes sense. I’ll have to add that to my routine.

      Try the palette knives, very fun. This painting no longer exists because I attacked it with the knives. But that’s a story for another post.

  3. Oh … love the stormy look.

  4. Oh … love the stormy look.


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