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Brushes Recommended by Plein Air Artists

Praying for America by Mark Keathley on Princeton Artist Brush Co.

Aspen Synthetic Bristle

Mark Keathley:

“They have just the right flex and stiffness that I like. Some brushes are too soft for thick oils; some bristles are too stiff and scratch the paint down to the canvas. I find the Princeton Aspen just right!”

Johnathan Harris:

“These brushes are of the highest quality and maintain their shape and integrity after many demanding uses. The filbert and round brushes are some of my favorites to use because they keep their shape and allow for great control.”

Mary Pettis:

“I love the Angle bright 6500AB for responsiveness and how well it has held its form.”

"Black Betty Swamp" by Paul Trottier

“Black Betty Swamp” by Paul Trottier

Dakota™ Synthetic Bristle

Paul Trottier:

“I appreciate the way these brushes handle acrylic paint: smooth on the surface with a brush stroke evident,” he notes. “They have a wonderful feel for someone who is heavy-handed with the paint like I am, and they are incredibly durable. Some of the brushes I have in my kit are 12 years old and still get used regularly.”

Vladimir London uses Princeton Neptune Mottler Brush

Painting by Vladimir London

Neptune™ Synthetic Squirrel

Series 4750 Quill Brush

David Eger:

“My workhorses [from the Neptune™ series] are the #6 quill, #6 round, #4 script and #1 script. They are soft brushes, so sometimes I use some other more firm brushes, but for the most part I love those four. They hold a lot of water and pigment, and react the way I want them to. That quill can do so much from beautiful wet-on-wet drop in blooms, to big sky washes, to some dry brush details with the tip. I can scrub with it as well. I love the details I can do with the scripts; they are not as long as some of the rigger brushes I have, but they are better for fine branches, masts, wires, and they do some nice dry brush and wet-on-dry leaves. They are also great for accent lines and highlights in white. They have proven that they can handle whatever I need them to do for the most part, so they have become the go-to brushes for me. I want to try the Velvetouch line, particularly the long rounds, so those will probably be the next brushes I get.”

Vladimir London:

“[The Mottler size 1] brush is one of the prettiest flat brushes I have ever seen! It comes in a miniature size (just one inch longer than the palm of my hand), yet its square 1×1” body is shaped to do the same job as longer-handled flat brushes. It is soft, thirsty, has a well-shaped edge, and makes a great tool in any watercolor artist’s toolbox. I take this brush on plein air and when travelling. Its compact size should not be misleading to what this brush is capable of producing: good size washes, long thin lines with its tip, and one-inch wide strokes with the full belly. It is also great for taking excess water from paper.”

Painting by Vladimir London

Painting by Vladimir London

Elite™ Synthetic Kolinsky Sable

Iain Stewart:

“I’m very rough on brushes and the point and water retention are quite good on these. My testing will certainly include durability over time and so far I’m quite happy with them. The matte finish provides excellent grip and so far the ferule remains solidly attached to the handle… They stand up to heavy use, retain their point, and water retention is quite fine. I don’t use flats as often but have found yours don’t spread as easily as others and retain their stroke size well for dry brushing and the like. All in all they are a finely crafted brush and I would not hesitate to recommend them.”



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