There are so many different ways but look after your brushes and it will save you a lot of angst and expense in the long run. Love your brushes as you’d love your favourite clothes. Look after them and treat them with tender care, they will last forever and will look after you.

I look after them so well they last for years which can be a problem if you have to feed an addiction like mine. You see I’m a brushaholic but I don’t get a chance to use them because I look after the same half a dozen ones I’ve had for years so well!

Let’s go through the different types.

WATERCOLOUR BRUSHES – They’re a breeze, warm water and soap. Gently wipe them back and forth in the palm of your hand and you can see the pigment wash off under a warm tap. Reshape the brushes when you’re done and occasionally treat them to a little hair conditioner. EASY

ACRYLIC BRUSHES – It’s very important to clean these brushes after using them. The paint hardens and it’s almost impossible to bring them back to their original state if they do. The good news is that you can clean them with water. Wipe the excess paint from the brush and then rinse with water again in the palm of your hand and with a little soap. You can condition them as before.

OIL BRUSHES – Cleaning these can send people into a gentle tizzy. Some people don’t wash them between painting sessions at all if they are painting the next day. Cleaning with Linseed oil or safflower oil works too as they are both oils and I have heard that baby oil works, Frankly I just take a breath, count to five and build the cleaning process into my painting routine.

I start by wiping my brushes on a paper towel. I then wash them thoroughly in mineral spirits. I use 2 jars of OMS in the studio. I jiggle my brush in one, wipe the excess off and jiggle the brush in the second jar and wipe again. After this I wash with a good hand soap, or a specific soap for the task. I find the gentle, oily type the best. Murphy’s oil if you can get it is great to wash and condition at the same time. Finally I always give the brushes a good rinse. When I’m painting I try not to let the paint migrate into the ferule (the metal bit) – it makes cleaning a bit easier.

Every couple of weeks (if I remember) I condition my brushes with hair conditioner and I also re-shape them using organic beeswax lip salve.

See, that wasn’t so bad now was it?

The Submission. I mentioned last week that I would submit my offering for the exhibition PLAY. I filled out the application form and took another deep breath and made the deadline. It’s important to give as much information in as concise a way as possible. One thing I learnt when doing the Professional Development Programme a couple of years ago was that curators like to have submissions as complete as possible. That might sound a bit obvious but you’d be surprised at how we presume that curators can see into our minds. Artists should make life as easy as possible for the exhibition organisers, no arms and legs should be hanging out and no problems unaddressed. Images should be supplied, measurements and installation directions should be given. It must all be ‘fait acompli’ and nothing left to chance.

Having said all that …. I fired off my submission before realising that I’d forgotten to measure my piece. I could have kicked myself but I picked myself up and fired off the form again. So – we will see.


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