Does anyone know what the best affordable brand of paint brushes are for oil and acrylic? I’m having a hard time find good ones that don’t cost me an arm and leg…thanks…
Depends what you call an arm and a leg - I am an acrylic painter and my preference these days is the Windsor and Newton Professional Acrylic Colour brushes (the black and white handled ones) I get them from Dick Blick which often has really great sales! I think they would work fine for oil also, but have never tried! My criteria tends to be that I like them to be fairly stiff, but flexible,because I like to use my paints thick for impasto as well as diluted with medium. I originally chose this brand by going into an art store and ‘feeling’ the bristles of all sorts of brushes to see what felt good to me, they clean easily and hold their shape. I think us artists tend to stick with what we know, brandwise, so, good luck finding a brand that suits you, Valerie
As silverpepperpot says, it depends on your style and how stiff you want the brush (more on that later).
For medium to soft-ish, I haven’t been able to beat Simply Simmons. They don’t fray, keeping their sharp edge throughout their life. They have cool-looking pearlized white handles. And they are really nice to work with.
Jerry’s Artarama has them both in the original (short) and long-handled types, both in regular and “extra-firm” (which isn’t all that firm), and each one regardless of size is under $4 each there.
Now, if you’re into impasto with heavy bodied paints, take advantage of my er… let’s call it “discovery” rather than “forgetfulness”… of several Simply Simmons brushes that I stashed, then forgot to clean. They were REALLY stiff.
Once they’re good and stiff with dried paint, you can actually tune their stiffness with judicious cleaning with (for oils) Formula 409 or any household cleaner that says it cuts grease and doesn’t need rinsing; (for acrylics) denatured alcohol / shellac thinner.
Anyway, you can make your own EXTRA-extra firms with a thin load of titanium white, wiped but not too wiped and left to dry for a couple of weeks…
That’s a good tip, Dave! thanks!
I am commenting only on the brushes I use for the style in which I paint. I paint primarily alla prima with very wet usually thick paint. All 4 of the styles I use are mid price range, pretty affordable considering how long they hold up to the wear and tear of everyday painting. I am religious about cleaning my brushes properly and after each use, and drying them flat. When treated well, I have brushes from all 4 lines that have lasted me years.
Two synthetic bristle brushes I like are the Silver Bristlon line and Rosemary’s Ivory line. Both are similar. They have a nice spring to them and hold up really well if you clean them properly. They hold a nice edge, create a variety of marks and even with a size 8 brush you can actually do some detail work all the way to broad brush strokes. The marks tend to be crisper than hogs bristle, though, which I don’t always care for, so I use these sparingly. My absolute favorite brushes for my alla prima work are the Blick Masterstroke hogs bristle brush or Rosemary’s chungking bristle brushes. Both are comparable in quality, although Rosemary’s flats are noticeably longer than Blicks. I mostly use flat or filberts, sizes 3,4,6,8 and 10. The hogs bristle brushes are the ones I reach for time and again. Hope this helps!