Monday, July 11, 2011

Synthetic Paint Brushes

Passing Through work in progress  ©2011 Katherine Kean
24 x 36" oil on linen on panel

Since removing animal products from my diet, I've learned more about all the ways that animals are used and abused to make not only food, but cosmetics, clothing, shoes, furniture, and even art supplies, As I wrote about here, I started to research new products to replace the non-vegan supplies I've come to rely on all these years. I'd been taught that the best brush for an artists must be a natural bristle brush, preferably a sable. No longer willing to buy and use a brush derived from killing animals, not to mention abhoring the cruel trapping and farming practices, I started looking for a synthetic substitute.

The first brushes I tried out were okay, far better then the ones made years ago, but just not quite as responsive as the natural bristles I've become used to. I've wondered if I would have to learn to make do and adjust my painting style accordingly. Whenever I'm in an art store I look at what they are offering in the synthetic bristle category and recently while browsing in a Utrecht store, I picked up a synthetic mongoose brush made by the Princeton Art & Brush Company. I didn't have high expectations and didn't even try it out for some time. It just sat there on the easel shelf, all clean and new.

Then the other day when I was about to begin painting the numerous twisty branches in the painting started above I decided to try it out and what do you know - it was fantastic! It did everything I would expect from a natural bristle brush. It carried a good load of paint, so I could start out on a long, broad stroke, follow through all the twists and turns and end with a fine point.

This one was a number 6 round. What a joy to paint with. The next time I'm buying brushes I plan on getting some more.

8 comments:

Cassandra Tondro said...

What is a synthetic mongoose?!!

Kathryn Hansen said...

it's so awesome that you have switched over your supplies and tools to be cruelty free...i so applaud that!! and because of you i no longer use Arches paper any more! so thanks for sharing!!

Katherine Kean said...

I'm not entirely sure Cassandra - they are so rarely seen! ;)
I think synthetic mongoose fur is a polymer filament, perhaps nylon or taklon.

Katherine Kean said...

Kathryn - that's wonderful! I hope that you've found alternatives that you're happy with. And, you're welcome. I'm happy to share the information.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Good for you Katherine! Progress like that feels great!

Katherine Kean said...

Thank you Diane - yes it does!

Shelley Whiting said...

What a lovely painting. It's very peaceful and ethereal. A beautiful and stunning artwork.

Katherine Kean said...

Thank you Shelley!