Before leaving London I splurged a bit and treated myself to new watercolour brushes. The brushes that I was using to start with were good natural hair brushes (though probably not Kolinsky), but really old and not in the best of shape – I believe most of them were brought from Russia when my family immigrated to Australia 20 years ago. Some of them could be my grandfathers. I suspect you can imagine what 20+ years of intermittent gentle use by me and some rougher use by my children would do to watercolour brushes.
I knew that some very accomplished artists happily use synthetic brushes to produce outstanding paintings. Therefore when I started painting more often and the state of my old brushes became an issue, I tried some good synthetic brushes – but they just didn’t feel right to me. They behaved in a different way and didn’t hold as much water as I was used to. I wanted painting to be comfortable and enjoyable experience, so decided that I would prefer to own a set of natural-hair brushes.
I kept on coming across good reviews of the UK based family-run company Rosemary & Co, whose brushes are not as expensive as some other brands, and decided to give them a go. Now I’m happily using their series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable brushes in sizes 8, 4 and 1 to paint small paintings. I want to move to the larger size paintings and suspect I’ll need a larger size brush – so one day I may try their series 99 Red Sable as it is more affordable.
In December Artists Helping Artist podcast had an episode about Rosemary & Co brushes, which is worth listening if you want to find out more about the company, how it started and grew to what it is today.
- Rosemary & Co Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable brush size 1,
- Rosemary & Co Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable brush size 8,
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Series 333 Synthetic Rigger size 2,
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Series 777 Synthetic One Stroke size 2.5 mm/ 1 inch
Paints: Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour (the original colours list plus I recently added Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Red)