Thursday, December 27, 2012

Artist Spotlight: 2012 in Review

It has been a full year of sharing artists, brush techniques, brush facts and ideas with you.  On the note of leaving 2012 behind and looking to the future, I wanted to share a brief catch up with you of "where are they now" on some of the artists we spotlighted this year.

Park and Main, in oil by Scott Gellatly
Scott Gellatly featured in Outdoor Painter magazine and several shows this past fall in Portland, OR. 

John Ross Palmer is now taking applications for the 2013 Escapist Mentorship program to take your art career to the next level. 

Hello Goodbye by William Rose
Lori McNee is teaching Still Life Painting in oils in Sun Valley, Idaho at the end of January. 

Annie Strack will be teaching a beach painting workshop in Panama City Beach, FL in January.

William Rose finished a recent commission for the William Jewell Home in Liberty, MO.

Matthew Kinsey as "Ask the Expert" from Utrecht shares wonderful painting advice on Facebook along with his own oil paintings.

Jivan Lee recently interviewed in Art Business News about working on commissions. 

To keep up with these artists and others we've featured in Artist Spotlight, you can tune into our Twitter list:

Have a wonderful New Year and we'll see you in 2013!

Keep Painting, 

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays from FM Brush

Have a Black Gold Holiday Season

However or wherever you spend your Holiday Season, have a blessed and peaceful time.   

From all of us at FM Brush

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Michael Ireland

St. Joseph Hospital, Mt. Sterling, KY
Michael Ireland, highly sought watercolorist and landscape artist, shares that when he finds a material he likes, he sticks to it.  And, so it is true with his brush collection, some of which are over 30 years old.  

Michael has found the same to be true in all of his tools, and he chooses those which serve his style, art and habits the best, in paints, surfaces, and brushes.  But, Michael also believes that the tools can only do so much, it is the passion and emotion behind them that create the art.

3 panels each 4' x 7' in process
Michael has been an artist his entire life, studying painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago under Irving Shapiro.  When he found watercolor that first year, he explains that it just overtook him, and he never looked back.  Both the dynamic and delicate nature of watercolor proves it to be tough to master, but it continues to enamor Michael and push his work to levels other watercolorists have not considered.
single panel 4'x 7' in process

His large scale works and grids of many small paintings together are unusual from a watercolorist, drawing commissions from across the nation.

It was his desire to go larger and larger as a watercolorist that led him to finding a niche in selling to hospital waiting rooms, a place that needs the transcendence his art provides.  This transcendence is not only felt when Michael's art is approached, but it is also the place he goes as an artist in the creation process:  "those moments when you don't realize you're painting anymore and something just takes over, and over time you can recognize it. . . not force it but let it in," he explains.  His art provides that hope, beauty and transcendence to something better, but also stays quiet -- waiting for the viewer, something needed in hospital waiting rooms. 

Mayo Clinic Installation
In Michael's work, he uses a variety of brushes to work quickly in washes and remove color if needed.  One of his favorites is a 3" flat sable, which is needed on his 4' x 8' panels.  The smaller 1" number 12 brushes, both flats and rounds are for the details and pulling up color if desired. 

Michael will have a show opening in May 2013 at Robert Morris University's State Street Gallery in Chicago, IL.  A large 30,000 square foot gallery to fill himself, it is sure to be a wonderful opening, showing completely new work.  To keep up with his shows and to see more of Michael's work, visit his website:  

Keep Painting, 

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

History of the Artist Brush

Handful of Black Gold brushes from Dynasty
We have very little of recorded history of the paint brush, considering that we know paintings existed from prehistoric era on the walls of caves, but we don't know exactly what tools were used to apply the paint.  It could have been twigs, feathers, fingers or human hair. 

We are, however, able to piece together a few pieces of brush history as early as the Egyptians using reeds with crushed ends.  We know, too, that by the fifteenth century, paint brushes were made with quills, using either soft hairs or bristles as Cennini describes how to make them in his book, "Il Libro dell' Arte".  Quills were used for several centuries for brushes, meaning the brushes could only be round.  Once metal ferrules were introduced, around the industrial age, brushes could take on flat and filbert shapes.  Impressionist painters were fond of the flat shape, allowing a new method of picking up and placing color on the canvas.  

At one time, too, artists hand made their own brushes, just as they ground their own pigments.  But as apothecaries took on supplying pigments, broom and other brush makers took on creating artist brushes.  Some of the first written documents of brush-makers as a trade appeared in 1785.  We know that the brush-making trade was a highly regarded vocation, with apprenticeships and unions.  Brush apprentices and brush masters are still titles in the industry, with the highest quality brushes still being made by hand.

Dynasty Brush factory
Master Brushmaker measuring for accuracy
Once small companies began to produce brushes for artists, there was a growth in the brush performance and brush quality.  European brush makers were known for creating some of the best natural brushes, with high quality bristles coming from Russia.  It has been much more recent that bristles from China are of the highest caliber.  

With the progression of technology, and concerns for the environment, synthetic hairs and the development of better synthetics has come into play in the brush making world.  These synthetics have opened the door for more affordable brushes as well as qualities in the hair that natural brushes couldn't provide.  Even the synthetics, though, are measured and placed by hand.  

For more information on the Brush Making process, you can check out this earlier post:  Look Inside the Factory

Keep Painting,

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


✦ Smith, Ray.  "The Artist's Handbook." Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1987.
✦ Thompson, Daniel V. [Translation] "The Craftsman's Handbook 'Il Libro dell' Arte' Cennino d'Andrea Cennini".  Dover Publications, New York, New York, 1954.
Deutches Pinsel Und Bürstenmuseum (German Brush Museum)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fine Art Brush Tips: Hardware Store Brushes

Many of you have wondered or even called us to ask, "Is it okay to use hardware store paint brushes on my fine art?"  Well the answer isn't a simple yes or no.  Sure, we'd rather you consider a Dynasty brush for your work, but there are many reasons why that is actually a good plan for your work -- I'm not just patting us on the back. ;)

Hardware store brushes do come in larger sizes, which can make for helpful lay-ins, priming, sealing or gessoing.  However, the quality of the hair and the overall quality of the brush is not usually as high for working with artist mediums.  You're not going to find a hardware store brush with the soft synthetics or quality bristle that you'll find in a fine art brush.  That is okay for working with latex paint on woodwork or furniture, and it might be okay for priming.  But, if you're looking for an ultra smooth finish, those rougher hairs will leave deep brush marks, hard to remove by sanding or painting over.  Also, some hardware store brushes can lose hairs easily so brush out the tufts before you use them.  Hardware store brushes these days are machine made, including the tufts.  They might be trimmed to the proper shape, eliminating those wonderful natural flags.  They also have different ferrules and often plastic handles, each wears much differently than a fine art brush.  

Soft natural hair artist brush
Our vice president of operations and chief innovator, Jeff Mink, weighs in, "Brushmaking techniques used in a hardware store brush is different than artist brushes.  [They] typically use filler stripes in the ferrule, which help the brush form an edge and also reduce the amount of bristle in the brush itself."  Artist brushes, however, do not have filler strips.  The hair quality and brush making techniques are used to create the fine edge needed in high quality artist brushes. 

It is best to know the medium you're using first, to know your style and what you need out of brush.  Sometimes a hardware store brush can work for just the right technique. 

Most importantly, if you find a brush hair that you like, but you cannot locate the size and shape. . . ask the manufacturer.  It is a huge part of our business to design brushes that match the characteristics artists need.   

Keep Painting,

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Artist Resources: Online Galleries

As the year draws to a close, many of you might be considering how to do better in sales next year, setting up organizational sites, online galleries and finding opportunities to list your art that you didn't know about before.  So here, I'm compiling a list of online galleries for just that purpose.  Once again, this list is not comprehensive (yet), so if you know of other galleries, please share and I'll add them here.

Gallery sites -- May or may not have avenues to sell:
  • FASO -- An easy way to build a website of your portfolio with free access to art marketing advice. There are levels of features depending on how much you want to invest.
  • EBSQ -- A network for self-representing artists to teach and exhibit.  
  • Axis -- For UK contemporary art, showcases artists to watch
  • Deviant Art -- The largest online forum for artists to share art, connect with others and build a free portfolio
  • BeHance -- A network for to showcase and announce their work
  • Society6 -- Place to view and purchase copies of art, Artists can sell work without losing their copyright.
  • Artst -- Place to meet & share work
  • Folioplanet -- An illustrator network to share work and create a gallery
  • AOI Portfolios -- Place to find an commission an illustrator, share work and build a gallery
  • InkyGoodness -- showcase for illustrators and character design
  • Altpick -- Showcase for the commercial art industry artists to display art
  • Design Taxi -- Network for inspiration, artists and buyers
  • Glossom -- Place to curate and share work for promotion 
  • Local Art Scenes -- Art communities promoting their artists
Online Galleries -- 
  • ETSY -- Everything thing is there to create an online gallery and sell. 
  • Fine Art America -- A professional network for artists, galleries and collectors.  A place to build a gallery, sell directly, link to other social networks and sell accessories and prints. 
  • Zatista -- A fine art gallery to sell and promote one's work to collectors, designers and galleries.  There is a 30% commission for them. 
  • Saatchi -- An online gallery for selling originals and prints based out of the Saatchi Gallery in London.  There is a 30% commission to them.
  • New Blood Art -- Reputable gallery with an invitation to show on the site
  • Gallery -- Painting gallery selling only originals
  • Folksy -- A UK company for selling crafts and art
  • Artulis -- For selling modern and vintage art in the UK
  • -- Similar Artulis for selling and showing art and craft
  • ArtsyHome -- Similar Artulis for selling and showing art and craft
  • 5pieces Gallery -- A full gallery online, exhibiting solo and group shows online and selling as well as consulting artists
  • Portraity -- Gallery for selling focused on portraiture in all media
  • Phoenix Art Gallery -- UK based online gallery for prints, sculpture and originals
  • State of the Heart -- Gallery based out of South Africa, shipping worldwide
Social Networks for Artists --
  • Leap Direct -- A place to build a website or online portfolio and communicate with other artists.  A social network for fine artists. 
  • Body of Art -- a free website to share and exhibit art online as well as lists of resources for finding galleries, studio space and competitions.  Collectors can contact artists directly through the message system to purchase works.   
  • Blue Canvas -- A place to share your art and connect with other artists, online forums, galleries, events, classifieds with a quarterly magazine.  Buyers can contact artists through the system, prices can be listed on work, but no sales go through the site.
Thank you to Artonomy for their resources and guides.

What other online galleries do you use?

Keep Painting,

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paint Brush Highlights: Faux Squirrel

Annie using her favorite round
Our Faux Squirrel brushes are hot, if I do say so myself.  The kind of brush you immediately want to touch when you see it.  Some artists buy these just to hold from time to time.  The hair is an exceptional synthetic, and the comfortable handle is exclusive to this brush, made for working long periods.

The Faux Squirrel series is the most popular with watercolor and acrylic ink artists.  Its supple spring and large belly hold ample fluid for washes and full brushstrokes.  Being a synthetic hair brush, it holds its point and shape incredibly well, showing little wear over time.  Since this brush is so popular, it comes in more than the standard shapes, too:  round, flat, oval wash, angle, dagger, fan, rigger and quills, plus some patented Dynasty shapes:  wave filbert, wave flat, whale tail, wave angle and fountain.  You can see my post on shapes for more info on all of these.

Annie in her studio
Annie's work and palette
Annie Strack, one of our featured artists has been using the Faux squirrel brush regularly in her watercolor work.  She shares her thoughts on the reliability of this brush, "I prefer large brushes because they hold more paint and water, which allows me to make larger, bolder statements with each brushstroke. The Faux Squirrel brush from Dynasty holds plenty of paint and water, and forms a perfect pointed tip that lets me paint small details or broad washes with the same brush. The brush holds its shape beautifully and has just the right amount of spring in the bristles to give me precise control of every brushstroke. I use this brush on all sizes of watercolor paintings, and for all types of techniques. It's the kind of brush that can be used for every part of a painting from start to finish."

I think that just about says it all, except that the price point is really awesome, too. ;)

Keep Painting, 

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Kendra Ferreira

Burnishing the pencil into 800 grit sanded paper with an IPC deerfoot brush
Kendra Ferreira is one of those artists who has both a spectacular eye for detail and a style that recreates her subject in a painterly way -- very hard to do with colored pencil.  But Kendra pulls it off with a high degree of technical skill and talent, and is noted for her colored pencil work, often mistaken for paintings.

When Kendra first picked up colored pencil, she was in college.  Naturally, she gravitated towards the medium with a strong background in drawing and graphic design, and a BFA in printmaking.  But, at the time, she was working primarily dry, attempting to get an even surface with the colored pencils.  Through her membership in CPSA, the Colored Pencil Society of America, Kendra was introduced to new surfaces and new possibilities for blending.

Claybord boxes with colored pencil lids and interiors
Not all colored pencil and pastel artists use brushes, but when they do, there are specific needs based on the surface and type of pencil they use.  In her work, Kendra chooses different substrates for differently styled pieces and alters her brush work accordingly.  When using a sanded surface, Kendra burnishes the pigment down into the surface with a soft blending brush.  Bristle brushes can work for this, but they will wear down quickly.  The IPC line, Ink, Pastel and Chalk, has some alternatives with slightly softer, but stiff, synthetic hairs made just for this task. 

Blending the pigments with Gamsol
In choosing to blend the colored pencil with solvents, Kendra uses an even softer brush, usually those meant for watercolor.  Once the drawing is complete and the colors filled in, Kendra uses an odorless mineral spirits, Gamsol, to blend the piece.  The softer brushes, like the mongolian sable she uses here, work easily to move the pigment.  And, these brushes hold up extremely well with solvents, being quite easy to clean.  A close look at this piece will show that the original drawing is rather textured, but the blending gives the painterly touch that Kendra is known for.

With her skill and output, Kendra's work and teaching is highly sought.  If you're interested in learning more about Kendra and her work, including a new online course, tune in to her blog and website

Online colored pencil course with Kendra
Kendra currently has a show on display at the Providence Art Club, Body and Soul, featuring the amazing Claybord box series along with hanging 2D work.  The show will be open through November 9.  On November 15, her show in Bristol, RI at Angelina's shop will open and run for three weeks. 

Keep your eye out for the issues of Colored Pencil magazine, they will be featuring Kendra in an upcoming article.

Keep Painting, 

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winner of our Online Drawing!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our drawing!!  You've been waiting patiently now for 3 weeks to know our winners.  

As I mentioned, there will be 2 winners, one for traditional fine art and the other for decorative art.  I'll be sending out Duets brushes and Black Gold brushes to the winners.  Just a refresher, Duets are some of our newer brushes, introduced earlier this year with unique tips on each end of the brush.  Black Gold brushes are our premier line of paint brushes, synthetic hairs created in a range of shapes and sizes to suit the style and medium.

Winning a full set of the Duets Brushes is Ann Patmore!  Ann is an all around artist who shares her work via her Facebook profile.  I won't give away some of her more special substrates, you'll have to check out her profile on your own! 

Winning an assortment of the Black Gold line is Helen Sturgeon, the Southern Cook.  Helen has an extensive background as a food editor and recipe tester, and she is just getting into watercolors.  Welcome to the art world and keep us posted on your paintings.  

Ladies, I will reach out to you via your websites to get your addresses and make arrangements to have the brushes sent your way. 

Thank you to all who shared our enthusiasm for good brushes, commented here in the blog and shared this with artist friends.  I look forward to having another drawing after the holidays, so stay tuned!

Keep Painting,

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Artist Resources: Color Guides

Last week I had an artist contact me about mixing color.  The question prompted me to look more closely at the online resources for artists around mixing color, and I thought that putting together a list would be an ideal post for this blog.  

This is not yet comprehensive.  I'm still collecting resources, so if you know of one that needs to be listed, please let me know so that I can add it.  

Color Theory
  • Munsell Color:  Munsell is likely the leading expert on communicating color and color theory.  The site is filled with tools and guides explaining color.  Thorough and technical explanations on how to mix color for an artist:  Mixing Paint
  • Handprint:  Thorough explanations of color theory, color in design, color temperature and the color basics.
  • Gamblin Color:  Robert Gamblin's Navigating Color Space color theory.  An excellent tool and video for artists to get started in mixing color. 
  • Amien Forum Articles Amien is a website dedicated to helping artists understand art materials.  Contains two articles, one on color theory and the other on understanding color.  
  • Kremer Pigments Blog:  Technical article on primary color and color theory. 
  • Pigment Definitions:  Very complete resource for identifying pigments in paint hues along with chemical composition, CI name and number and historical name. 
  • Pigment Chart:  A catalogue of pigments, showing properties, historical notes and images.
Understanding Color Mixing

Keep Painting,

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paint Brush Highlights: Mongolian Sable

I have shared Faux Kolinsky sable  and Faux Sable with you, so this third brush is a completely unique brush on its own, made from real Mongolian Sable.  The hairs are shorter than the synthetic sables, and a different color, a soft gray with a dark tip.  The hairs, being natural, are also finer and softer than the other sables.  You couldn't get much softer unless you were going to paint with goose down.

Within Dynasty's line of brushes, this sable is a natural hair brush created using hair from the Mongolian sable, doing so in a sustainable way without harm to the animal or environment.  FM Brush supports the fight against animal testing and uses wood for the handles in all brushes from wood reforestation programs.

If you are looking for a brush with natural hair, soft and suitable for watercolor, gouache or casein and oil, this is your brush.  These brushes are all long handled, intended for the painter working on an easel or en plein air.  They work ideally with buttery oil paints or detailed watercolors, coming in brights, rounds, angles, fans and filberts.  I have found that the fan brush in particular is ideal for soft blending, similar to using a light badger hair brush.

For a complete look at the origin of sable and the animal itself, take a look at this 2011 post:  What is sable?

Keep Painting, 

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where to buy Dynasty Brushes

We receive hundreds of queries on where to buy our brushes, so I thought that I'd put all of that up front for you to make it easy for purchasing.  Since we don't sell directly to consumers, but rather through retailers, here they are listed below.  We are constantly driving to create new relationships with dealers nationally and internationally to make our products more available to you.  So, I will update this post as those new relationships are built.

In the meantime, I hope that one of these fine companies below can serve your needs.

If you would like to search by zip code or map locale, click the page below:
Dynasty Distributors

Below are the brick and mortar stores:

United States:

Art Systems of Florida, Winter Park, FL
Artisan, Santa Fe, NM, Delray Beach, FL
Braun Brush, Albertson, NY
C and R Ceramics, Ocala, FL
Ceramics & Crafts Supply, San Francisco, CA
Creative Crafts, Baton Rouge, LA
Cupboard Distributing, Urbana, OH 
Daniel Smith Fine Art, Bellevue, WA & Seattle, WA
Dove Brushes, Tarpon Springs, FL
Hyatt's All Things Creative, Buffalo, NY
Mister Art, Inc., Houston, TX 
Nasco Outlet, Fort Atkinson, WI 
Nasco Outlet, Modesto, CA
Pearl Paint, Paramus, NJ
Sax Art, Appleton, WI
Triarco Arts & Crafts, Plymouth, MN 
Wet Paint Art, Minneapolis, MN

United Art & Education in the midwest
Castleton, IN 
Calumet City, IL
Centerville, OH
Hilliard, OH
Indianapolis, IN
Merrillville, IN
Mishawaka, MI 
Sharonville, OH

University Art in California
Palo Alto, CA 
The Annex, Palo Alto, CA
Midtown, Sacremento, CA
North, Sacremento, CA 
San Jose, CA
San Francisco, CA

Utrecht Art Supplies by City
Atlanta, GA 
Baltimore, MD 
Berkeley, CA
Boston, MA
Cambridge, MA 
Carle Place, NY
Chicago, IL
Cleveland Heights, OH 
Columbus, OH
Cranbury, NJ
Detroit, MI
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Wayne, IN
Kansas City, KS
Los Angeles, CA
Manhattan, NY (2)
Miami, FL 
Milwaukee, WI (2)
Minneapolis, MN
Philadelphia, PA (2)
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Providence, RI
Royal Oak, MI
Sacremento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA (4)
Savannah, GA
Seattle, WA
Tallahasse, FL
Tempe, AZ
Washington, DC 


Omer DeSerres by city
Faubourg Boisbriand, Boisbriand, Quebec
Brossard Quartier Dix30, Brossard, Quebec
Chicoutimi, Quebec
East Vancouver
West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Quebec
Les galeries Gatineau, Gatineau, Quebec
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Laval, Quebec, Quebec
Marché central Montréal, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, Quebec
Place Montréal Trust, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, Quebec
Saint-Léonard, Quebec, Quebec
Saint Catherine, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, Quebec
Université Concordia, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, Quebec
Hyde Park Gate, Oakville, Ontario, Ontario
Centre Saint-Laurent, Ottawa, Ontario
Méga Centre Des Sources (Pointe-Claire), Quebec, Quebec
Galeries de la capitale, Québec, Quebec
Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Quebec
Place Sainte-Foy, Place Sainte-Foy, Quebec
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Quebec
Downtown Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto East, Ontario, Ontario
Uptown, Ontario, Ontario
Trois-Riviéres, Trois-Riviéres, Quebec
Broadway (Vancouver), Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia
Main Street (British Columbia), British Columbia, British Columbia
Vaughan Mills Mall, Vaughan, Ontario

Currys by city
Barrie, Ontario
Kitchener, Ontario
London, Ontario 
Markham, Ontario
Mississauga, Ontario
Dundas Store, Toronto, Ontario
Queen Store, Toronto, Ontario
Yonge Store, Toronto, Ontario
Whitby, Ontario

Artists Emporium
Winnipeg, Manitoba

United Kingdom:
The complete list of countries include:
United Kingom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Below are the online stores for ordering: 
Curry's Art Store (serving Canada) 
Cupboard Distributing
Sax Arts & Crafts
Triarco Arts & Crafts
United Art and Education

Keep Painting, 

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Theresa Shaw

Stained Glass Tulips
Devon, UK, based artist Theresa Shaw fell in love with paint at a very young age noting the primary colors and the smell of the binder, something she can easily recall now.  She remembers standing at the easel throwing paint "Jackson Pollock style".  That childhood freedom of painting with abandon kept her drawing and doodling, following in her mother's artistic footsteps.  She still has that first plein air work, a crocus from the front garden, created at age 11 when she laid down her plan to be an artist.

Even though Theresa fills her time as a gallery manager by day, her artwork has not played second fiddle.  Theresa works in acrylic ink, a medium that has the brilliance of acrylic color but flows more like watercolor.  With the acrylic washes, she can go back and create layers or remove color by scrubbing the surface.  As the process is very intuitive for her, Theresa lets each painting lead the way.

Stargazer Lilies
I have only posted a few of Theresa's floral watercolors here, but please check out her website for the many black and white landscapes she has created, another lovely original approach.

Theresa uses a variety of good brushes on her work, squirrel mops, wide hake brushes, lots of rounds, filberts and long liners.  Sometimes she will even pick up a bristle brush for it's ability to move and scour watercolor on the surface of paper or canvas.  Even though her arsenal of brushes is full, usually a piece will require just a few familiar ones.

After raising a family, Theresa transitioned into instructing watercolors as well as painting her own.  Within her own work as well as in teaching her students, Theresa advises to purchase quality.  A pattern that we've seen many times from seasoned artists. 

Chinese Lanterns
Theresa explains it better than I could say myself. "Good materials are the key to good art. Anything less and you will find yourself wrestling with shoddy materials and substandard equipment rather than creating a thing of beauty. Keep it simple, you don't need to buy everything, and spend as much as you can on the best quality. Better to have 3 brushes that you can use without thinking than 30 that won't do what you ask of them."

Keep Painting,

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

FM Brush - an International Presence

The Autumn Fair International is a massive event, attended by thousands of retailers and manufacturers, pairing together to meet customer's needs.  Buyers from more than 78 countries attend and there are many sectors for all sorts of interests.  This year, the show was held in Birmingham, UK at the beginning of September and attended by FM Brush, from both U.S. and our Thailand factories.  Our wonderful  Shar Sosh was there painting a mannequin and you can catch a glimpse of her work in this video around :40.   

This show encouraged our already large international reach.  Many of you, are loyal fans and blog readers are overseas.  I've seen and heard from more fans in the UK, Germany and South America than any other countries, including the U.S!  And this show allowed us to gain even more exposure to those retailers all over the world so that you can find our brushes closer to home.  We keep our "Where to Buy" page up to date, so check back to find dealers close to you.

Our booth, attended by Fred Mink, Shar Sosh, Abe Grossman and Napat Wongsai

Shar's painted mannequin
For even more info on the Autumn Fair, check out the Hobby, Arts & Crafts sector.  It is one of the newer sectors of the show where FM Brush shared its wares and demonstrated brushes.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Vincent Van Gogh

La MousmÉ, 1888, oil on canvas
Self-Portrait, 1889, oil on canvas
 All art courtesy of the National Gallery of Art Images Collection

If you consider which artists are the most influential in your own work, you would likely find that there are reasons for each choice whether it be an element of design, a technique or even a trademark characteristic in personality.  Maybe brushwork is one of those reasons, and if so, what artists stand out as masters of their brushwork?

I'd have to say that Vincent Van Gogh is at the top of my list.  There are plenty of others in the post -Impressionist era that used colored strokes unlike anyone before their time.  But, Van Gogh took his work in another direction, creating some of the most famous and recognized art we know today.

After unsuccessful bouts in other life work, Van Gogh moved to Paris with the intent to give art his full time attention.  He surrounded himself by masters, Camille Pissaro, Paul Gauguin, and Claude Monet, soaking in their influence of the impressionist period.  Largely from their encouragement, Van Gogh changed his hues and subject matter.  His previous work was from his previous employment -- the darker life of the peasants he preached to back in the Netherlands.   The newer colors and subject matter didn't alter his style, though, and the brushwork remained intense throughout his life, if not growing more intense, energetic and frantic with age.
The Olive Orchard, 1889, oil on canvas

At that time, post Impressionism artists were altering how nature, landscapes, architecture and portraits were painted.  Ultra-realism was phased out as spots of color and simple strokes were shedding light on new ways to conjure imagery.  Van Gogh's palette and subjects were altered by the outside world, but it was his touch on the canvas that remained his own.

Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, before passing away from a gunshot wound at the early age of 37.  During his lifetime, very few knew and appreciated his work.  Near the end of his life, however, his comrades in art praised his work faithfully.  Van Gogh's life work as an artist produced over 2100 pieces in his short time painting, including portraits, still lifes, landscapes and drawings.  Notably, his work, along with Pablo Picasso's work, is some of the highest priced at auction.

Girl in White, 1890, oil on canva
Thanks to Van Gogh, strong brushwork, regardless as to how it comes about has a solid place in art.

Just this week an article was released by on a Van Gogh painting at the Indianpolis Museum of Art where the conservation team is cleaning Undergrowth with Two Figures.  You can read further about the pigments that Van Gogh used in this piece, painted within the last few weeks of his life.

Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

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Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

More Information:[/url]
Copyright ©
Virtual restoration of Undergrowth with Two Figures

More Information:[/url]
Copyright ©

To see more of Van Gogh's works and get to know him better, take a look at the Van Gogh Museum's website, or go visit it in Amsterdam.

Keep Painting, 

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