watermedia still life painting
Glitch (mixed media on paper)

As one of your most essential tools, it’s important that you take of your watermedia brushes properly. Follow a few simple tips and over time, you’ll save yourself time and money—and keep your brushes performing the way you want them to.

watermedia painting
The Traveler (mixed watermedia on cradled board)
  1. Never let paint dry on your brushes. If you’re in the process of painting and can’t wash your brushes immediately, keep them in water to prevent the paint from drying. Warning: Do not allow the bristles to rest on the bottom of the container, which can cause them to bend, break, or become misshapen.
  2. Pat or wipe off excess paint to keep the brush as clean as possible while you’re working.
  3. For acrylic paint, use a brush cleaner, or soap and water. Watercolor paint will require only rinsing in water. In either case, try not to get paint on the handles and the ferrules (the metal ring or clamp that holds the bristles in place and attached to the handle).
  4. After cleaning, use your fingers to gently work the hairs of the brush back into its natural shape. Then allow your brushes to air-dry completely before putting them away.
  5. For storing your brushes, a simple coffee can or vase will do.
figure painting
John (watercolor on paper)


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  1. I would like to suggest using soap made with Olive Oil as well. I have used this for years and have brushes as old as 20 years that I still use and are in good shape. Buy the best you can afford and take good care of them and they will last for many, many years. Another tip is to use only your rattiest brushes for scumbling. This way you will not break hairs on good brushes to achieve those effects.


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