Testing out some new brushes:
It was a great opportunity to test out my new Princeton 6300 series brushes. They are recommended in the book Brushwork Essentials by Mark Christopher Weber. He uses water-soluble oils, and he mentions in his book that these synthetic bristle brushes are preferable to natural-hair bristle brushes:
"All the natural hairs absorb water, which reduces their strength and spring to varying degrees... For this reason they become more difficult to use with water-soluble oils if you thin with too much water or rinse as you paint. Bristles in particular swell up and become unmanageable mops."
"The synthetics are nonabsorbent, so their spring and shape are little affected by water when thinning water-soluble oils."
"The Princeton 6300 series is an exceptional brush, having the strength and durability of a good bristle and at the same time coming to a point as fine as many a sable. "
This may explain some of the problems I have been having with the painting process. I work mainly in acrylic, but I am striving for a more traditional oil-painting look, feel and finish.
Acrylic presents the same problem with natural-hair bristle brushes as with water-soluble oils. My bristle brushes have swelled up and are unable to get a fine point. No wonder I have been struggling!
The idea was sound: to get results similar to oils, use similar techniques and similar brushes. The problem was with the way the natural bristles absorb the water and eventually become unusable for anything but scrubbing.
I may be able to get the desired results with Acrylic, but I will need to adjust some of the painting process to take advantage of its inherent capabilities, and to avoid struggling to try to make Acrylic behave in ways it isn't designed to.
Know your materials and adjust the working process to attain the desired results.
So far, I am pleased with the way these brushes handle and their capabilities. I am excited to continue using them and see if this helps resolve at least one of the difficulties I have been encountering with painting.
(This is one of the advantages of working in a place that sells floral supplies. )
Speaking of materials, I also picked up some new mediums and additives, and will be experimenting with them to adjust the drying time, the viscosity, and the transparency of the Acrylic paint.
This is an exciting time to be a painter - there are so many new materials out there to try!!!