Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Oil Painting

Characteristics - Painting Methods & Techniques - Materials and Equipment - Work Space & Storage - Manufacture of Pigments - Protection of the Picture

Oil Painting - Brush Wash

During the painting process and after a work session, artists clean their brushes in a solvent such as turpentine or mineral spirits. A metal container for such cleaning solutions, fitted with a cover to prevent unnecessary evaporation of the solvent, is a useful item of studio equipment. Such brush washers, sold in art supply stores, are usually fitted with a wire screen insert, against which the brush can be lightly rubbed to clean it of excess color.

An inexpensive disposable brush washer can be made by using a clean glass jar that has a metal screw top about 2 and 1/2 inches wide and a capacity of about a pint. Put a plastic mesh scouring pad, such as those used to scrub cooking pans, in the jar. Then pour mineral spirits into the jar to a level of about 1/2 inch higher than the scouring pad. Brushes can be rubbed against the cleaning pad without wearing down their bristles, and the paint will settle to the bottom of the jar leaving the solvent clean at the top. Cover the jar when it is not in use. After many work sessions, when the solvent becomes saturated with paint, shut the jar tightly and discard it along with the dirty solvent and the scouring pad. [pp. 73-74]

[Kay, Reed. The Painter's Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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