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Friday, October 17, 2014

Artist Resources: Painting Supports

The modern artist has many supports or substrates to choose from, most painters choose from canvas, wood panels or paper depending on their medium.  In all substrates, there is a huge range of quality.  Pre-made canvases and panels  can be convenient, but may also be created with poor quality ingredients.  Research the companies and materials that go into your artist materials.  There are many reputable and well made substrates on the market, and paying for a quality support will make the difference in the longevity of the piece.

Canvas, meaning tightly woven cloth, is a flexible, light-weight support.  Cotton, linen or synthetic fabric is sold in rolls or already pre-stretched on stretcher bars.  Canvas usually needs to be sized and primed before it is ready for paint.  Canvas can be stretched to large sizes without the weight that accompanies panels or it can be rolled for easy transport.  Keep in mind that canvas does move and flex with humidity and temperature and can cause cracking in a painting depending on the flexibility of the paint.  

Panel is the heaviest but most durable support.  It can withstand layers of acrylic or oil paint that would weigh down canvas, yet panels are rigid supports made of wood, fiberboard or a combination.  Not all panels are created equal.  Wood also expands and changes with temperature and humidity, so it is vital to know what kind of manufacturing process is the most resilient against warping and the best to hold paint.  Panels need to be sealed and primed before paint is applied.  There are plenty of good panels on the market that are pre-primed and ready for paint.  

Paper rarely needs to be primed for painting, however it can be unsuitable for oils due to the acidity of the paint and it can be fragile for heavy bodied acrylics.  Paper is incredibly versatile and most easily available usually for working quickly, travel, sketching and mounting on other supports.  For more information on choosing the right paper for your medium, check out Strathmore's Paper Media Guide.

In the modern art world, artists can work with glass, aluminum, copper or a myriad of other substrates for their work.  Some artists feel that fragility and impermanence suit their concept.  However, if art is to last for decades, then certain aspects need to be kept in mind.  Three points to keep in mind when choosing a support from Gottsegen's, The Painter's Handbook:

  • It should age without becoming so brittle or fragile that it will suffer from exhibition, handling, or proper storage.
  • It should be able to withstand the effects of atmospheric changes.  Under reasonably variable conditions of relative humidity (RH) and temperature, the support should expand, contract or warp as little as possible.
  • It should have enough absorbency and tooth to provide a good key for the kinds of paints and grounds applied to it.
I have barely begun to scratch the surface of modern supports.  Take time to research and experiment.  Some artists find what works for them breaks all the "rules" and others find that tradition is the best path.

Keep Painting, 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Gottsegen, Mark, "The Painter's Handbook: A Complete Reference, Revised and Expanded." Watson-Guptill Publications, New York. p.32

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dynasty Brush Comparison Chart

Interboro Brushes
Interboro Line
FM Brush, Inc. makes over 17, 000 kinds of brushes.  With so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming for an artist to choose what kinds of brushes will work best for their media and styles of artwork.

Below is a chart of the Dynasty professional artist brushes and their corresponding media.  Traditionally artists used natural hair brushes for oil and watercolor with synthetic brushes mainly for acrylic paints.  However, with the technology advancing quickly in synthetic fibers, synthetic hairs have the spring and support of natural hair brushes.  Each artist should experiment with a range of brushes to know what works best for their style, comfort, and medium.  


Oil & Alkyd
Egg Tempera

Interlock Bronze

Faux Sable

Faux Kolinsky

Faux Squirrel

Orange Ice

Large Mop



Eye of the Tiger

Friday, September 26, 2014

Paint Brush Highlights: Black Steel

The New Black Steel Long Handled Brushes

These are solid brushes, intended for heavy body paints, with the interlocked design and a synthetic blend of hair, created in house.  The hair is strong, springy and firm, like bristle brushes.  Our master brush makers with no less than 20 years of experience put these together, all by hand from start to finish.

Long black chrome Hollander ferrules are used, to insure good balance and permanent attachment to the handle. They are non-reflective and suitable for outdoor use, either plein air or mural work.  The handles are precision balanced and completely manufactured in house by FM Brush.  The matte steel grey finish that is applied to the handle is both non-toxic and water resistant (did I mention comfortable?), and the brush top is triple bonded to the handle to insure long lasting performance. 

Black Steel comes in a variety of shapes and sizes including our patented wave shape design for special effects and landscape work.

These are coming soon to stores near you!


For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.