Many new artists don't yet know that your brushes are as important as the paint you use.  If you are serious about being a good artist, and I hope you are, then you NEED top quality brushes and paint! That's good to know, but where do we purchase good brushes and how much do we need to spend for them?  After all art supplies are not cheap, or are they?

     It might surprise you to know that you can purchase top quality brushes and paint for not much more than hobby store prices!  In fact, sometimes they can be purchased for the same price. You just need to know where to get them.  I follow (subscribe) some top artists through youtube and their websites.  They almost always recommend particular brands of paint and brushes.  Now at one time I didn't really look into those brands thinking they would be too expensive.  But I have since learned that isn't necessarily the case.

     Case in point is the artist Andrew Tischler who lives in New Zealand.  He is one of the world's foremost artists.  I started following him because I really liked his ability with portrait painting.  Then I realized he is really good at landscape painting as well.  Both of these genre are my top choices.  I purchased some of his teaching videos and in them he recommends a particular company for brushes and another for paints.

     For brushes he recommends the UK company called ROSEMARY and CO.  ( Rosemary and Co. is considered the best maker of brushes in the world so I expected them to be expensive.  However, when I looked them up,  I quickly saw that they are the very reasonably priced.  In fact, when I changed the pricing tab to US dollars,  I realized the pricing was basically the same as what I had been spending at hobby stores!  Even better,  there is a excise tax that is REMOVED when you get to the checkout that brings the price even lower!   So, in the end, I bought 22 brushes that cost me $115 total!  Not bad at all!  So, for brushes,  buy the best!  They cost the same as cheaper brands, but the difference in your artwork is amazing!

     Now, for paints. There are many brands of paint to choose from as well as level of quality, so let me share some of them.  To start off you have student or basic paints and professional or artist grade paints. What is the difference besides cost?  Student grade paint or basic paints:  less pigment & more fillers.  Doesn't go as far and need more coats to cover the canvas.  May crack or break down later and may not be light fast. Professional or Artist grade: less or no fillers and much more pigment.  More expensive, but go much further with much better coverage and lasting power. Little or no cracking down the road and no fading of colors.  Also, if a paint tube says "Hue" that means there are cheaper ingredients in the color such as in Cadmium colors which are more expensive to make.

 1.  Daler-Rowney Georgian:  a student grade paint.  Less expensive, but also less pigment.
 2.  Grumbacher: This is a more professional paint thus more pigment, a better paint.
 3.  Gamblin:  Good pigment, good price, but thicker making for more mixing.  May tire your arm but          otherwise a good paint used by many artists.
 4.  Richeson Shiva series:  good paint, smooth texture and nice drying time.
 5.  Winsor & Newton:  good paint, a standard in the industry
 6. M Graham Oils:  small company out of Oregon.  Very good paint!, low toxicity, and not expensive
 7.  Langridge Oils:  Australian.  Considered among the best of paints! Expensive, but very high pigment load.  Used by top artists in the world.  Found in the US through SOHO art supplies (NY)
 Here again I looked to Andrew Tischler and Cesar Santos, another well known and highly skilled artist.  They both use the brushes by Rosemary and Co. and they use LANGRIDGE oil paints.  Turns out, Langridge is considered to be one of the best oil paints in the world.  It is hand made of the finest materials and even though more expensive, for what you are getting it is reasonably priced. Paint costs vary by color and Langridge runs more per tube over the popular brands, but we all know high quality paint is not cheap.  When you consider that we use less in paint that is highly pigmented, it becomes more reasonable in cost.

 1. Liquitex heavy body professional: considered to be among the best in acrylics, thick paint if you like impasto painting
 2. Liquitex Basics:  okay for students, but definitely lower on pigment load & softer, can break down
 3. Golden:   Look on tube for the series number 1 or 2. ( Student grade 1 or artist grade 2) Golden artist  grade is more expensive than Liquitex Heavy body, but has more pigment and less difference from wet to dry color. (acrylics dry darker) It is also softer or creamier than Liquitex for smoother painting.
 4.  Blick acrylics: student grade and artist grade: ok, but not as high in quality as you might like. Inexpensive.
 5.  Artist Loft:  I haven't used this paint as much except for pouring or fluid painting.  I like it for this only.  It is definitely a less expensive and thus less pigmented paint.

     Now to mention the difference you see in your paintings!  I've talked about the importance of using top quality materials before so you are familiar with the statement.  But have you actually experimented and compared the differences?   It's not necessary to go a purchase an entirely new set of paints and brushes. You can buy one at a time.  I try to save on shipping by purchasing several things at once.  But it's up to you of course what you choose to do.

     I hope this discussion has helped you in deciding what paints and brushes to use.  Again, I cannot stress enough that your artwork can only be as good as the materials you use!  You may be a "gifted" artist but if you use low quality materials, your painting will not reflect the quality of a gifted artist!
FYI:  there is a difference between talented and gifted.   Talented is a skilled artist usually learned, while gifted is someone who has exceptional or very superior talent, usually from birth or a very early age perhaps unlearned but can be enhanced through learning.  I am not gifted.

     My thought for the day:  I find it interesting that over the years I have met people who were talented in painting, but could not teach it well.  Then I have met people who were average in skill but were great in teaching, while some are good in both.  I strive to do be a good artist and teacher.  Perhaps having raised four children helped.  It requires a lot of patience which few people seem to have these days.  Many people are as impatient with themselves as they are with others, but we need patience to learn as well as to teach. I know what I see in my mind's eye may not necessarily be what I see coming through on the canvas and this is where patience comes in.  It takes time to learn to transmit our feeling or vision to canvas.  So practicing your patience will help you improve as an artist!  Walk away if necessary and come back later to see where you've made mistakes.  I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  All good artists do this.  They may have to leave a painting many times, or it may have to sit for weeks before we see what it is we need to change.  That change may be small or large, but once done, the whole painting improves.  It is the nature of painting.  Don't fear it; accept it; welcome it!
     Two new brushes I have added to my kit are below.  The first is a Mop brush.  I tried it because I was told that it's great for smoothing and blending.  The second is a Dagger brush.  It is pointed on one side to allow for great control.  I haven't used it yet as I just got it, but I am anxious to try it out!

Mop brush. I actually have two.  One to put on the color and one to blend
Dagger brush.  Notice how it comes to a sharp point.  

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