Firstly, I should point out that I’m not always down at the art shop looking for new things. I’m actually a bit of a stick in the mud – preferring to use what I have and hope to get better with more practice. Sometimes I get pushed… and the dominoes effect does the rest. I’ve been comparing notes with Paul over at Learning to See and he said that he prefers to use brushes called “brights”. I thought they sounded interesting but couldn’t think that I’d seen anything like that at the art shop I usually go to. Thought no more of it.

Then I was looking for information on an oil primer that could be cleaned up with water (I’m allergic mineral turpentine – seriously so!). I’d heard that Art Spectrum made one so I was Googling – hoping for a data sheet. One of things I found was a page by them called Oil painting without solvents. Very interesting…

Among other things on the info sheet was a discussion of brushes – mentioning brights and their ability to give “crisper, harder edged brush marks”. Hmmm. About time I thought about these a bit more.

The problem is they’d have to be synthetic too. I don’t use animal products.

So I Googled around a bit and found a brand called Neef – who make a stiff bright synthetic- advertised as “allows for tight control in strokework, smaller sizes can be used for detail or highlight work. Due to the ease of control this brush is ideal for the beginner. The stiff synthetic has the firmest spring”. Beaut. Time to order. Mail order would do – I knew that my art shop wouldn’t have them.

Anyway as a follow up to this I did a bit more Google magic and found that there is a supplier in Perth – an art shop called Murray Gill Fine Art Provisions. I had never heard of them. They’re in Subiaco which is a long way from here. Never mind, we were having a day out maybe this could be the first stop. It turned out to be fun, a great little place with lots of different brands to those I usually see. I’ll definitely be going back.

What did I choose today? A few more Neef brushes – rounds this time. And this little wooden brush support for when you need to put a loaded brush down for a second.

Brushes on a brush rest

Brushes on a brush rest


One thought on “Brights”

  1. Hi Amanda,
    Regarding brushes, I should clarify that I only use brights for the background, at the begining of the painting. They’re flat profile and short, which makes them very springy and tough. They’re good for ‘scrubbing’ in a background and get a nice, even thin covering, almost like scumbling. Generally my arm is aching by the time I finish scrubbing in a background.

    For most of my painting I use long bristle filberts, and sometimes mongoose filberts too, which are smoother, somewhere between sable and hog. W&N make some synthetic mongoose brushes (I think called Monarch), but they don’t last very well in my experience and the marks they mak are a bit too clipped and exact for me – I like a bit of random dither 🙂

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