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,
Karyn

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