Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Paint Brushes

One of the reasons that I have not been enjoying my painting much lately is that my paint brush has started to go. One of the problems of using enamel paints is that they are very hard on brushes. I reckon that a brush lasts about two to three months before it loses its point and I have to replace it. They tend to go all of a sudden and that's what happened to me about two weeks ago. I had a spare to hand but it wasn't one of my usual ones and I'm not getting on with it. I went to Kingston on Sunday to get another one but, annoyingly, the art shop is closed on Sundays until September (credit crunch, no doubt).

I only use Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable brushes which you can't get everywhere. I always used to use them for painting (pictures not figures) and just naturally graduated to them for model soldiers when I started painting figures seriously about ten years ago. Fortunately, there are a couple of very good art shops in Soho so I nipped out at lunchtime today to get a new one from Cass Art. Hooray they had a sale on so my normal brush was £4.95 rather than the normal £8.00 each. I bought four just to be on the safe side.

The Winsor & Newton factory in Harrow, built in 1898

They are so expensive because they are all hand made in a special room at the Winsor & Newton factory in Harrow, West London. The brushes are taper dressed, which means that the hairs in them aren't all the same length. This gives a better point. Cheaper (even other sable) brushes are usually ‘solid' dressed; using hair of a single length per brush but this leads to an inferior point.

Series 7 are so named because in 1866 Queen Victoria asked Winsor & Newton to make her some brushes in her favourite size 7. I tend to use only 00 size brushes although I picked up a 000 today as well as I have tartan to paint!

I am actually looking forward to going home tonight and doing a bit of painting (although the weather and, hence, the light are horrible today). I'd like to get on with the Beja but I haven't put sand on the bases yet so will have to let that dry before I can put any paint on. I may do a bit on my next four Perry Sudan Highlanders instead.

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