5 Ways to Care for Your Fine Art Brushes
Fine art brushes are investment. But the reason committed artists opt for such brushes is the extra attention to detail that often makes it easier to turn ideas into beautiful works of art with increased precision. Even so, higher quality brushes are only going to be worth the investment if you make an effort to take care of them. Here are five things you can do to keep your fine art brushes in good shape.
1. Clean Your Brushes After Each Use
Resist the urge to simply toss your brushes aside after your artistic moments or when you take a prolonged break. Even if you’re painting with oil-based paint that take longer to dry, putting off the cleaning process can accelerate wear and tear on your brushes. Also, leaving your paint linger can make the cleaning process difficult.
2. Do More Than Just Leave Brushes in Water
Fine art brushes aren’t going to last long if they’re just tossed into water when not in use. Take the time to thoroughly work soap or shampoo into the bristles or fibers. Rinse your brushes until there’s no longer any trace of detergent, soap, or shampoo.
3. Clean Further Down to the Handle
The toughest part of an art brush to clean is the part where the bristles meet the handle, called the ferrule. Still, it shouldn’t be ignored. Leaving paint residue in this area will cause your bristles to gradually spread. Inspect your brush after you rinse it after cleaning it to make sure there’s no remaining paint by the handle.
4. Don’t Place Your Brushes Vertically in Water/Solvent
The pressure that’s put on the end of the brush when it’s placed in water or solvent can cause the bristles to spread or become permanently misshapen. Water can also cause wooden brushes handles to warp or swell. If you let your brushes sit long enough, bristles may dislodge from the handles.
5. Store Your Cleaned Brushes Bristle Side Up
After your brushes are nice and clean, place them vertically with the head side up. Make sure the brushes aren’t leaning against one another. Some artists prefer to store their brushes in canvas sleeves where they can be carefully separated. Horizontal storage in drawers is fine as well, as long brushes aren’t touching.
Stiffer-hair brushes tend to show signs of wear faster, especially if you use them on coarse surfaces. Higher quality brushes are less likely to be wear out too soon if you use them for specific purposes, such as painting broader and uneven lines. With proper care, however, most fine art brushes can allow you to create your own personal masterpieces for many years.