Having finally got back into the swing of some painting again last weekend, after yet another period of limited productivity, I was somewhat alarmed at the sorry state of some of my paintbrushes. I am fully ashamed to admit that I am not the most assiduous paintbrush cleaner. As the fundamental tool of my trade I should be far more concerned with the maintenance and welfare of my brushes.
As I only use acrylic paint I have no excuse other than laziness and disorganisation. Unlike when using oil paint, I only need to use water to clean my brushes and the sink is located about 10 paces away from where I usually paint.
I believe that my bad brush maintenance habit has formed from:
My inability to store brushes neatly in one place. Storage places include (but are not limited to):
A tin container (I would like to say that these are strategically placed into the tin but I would be lying)
The well in my palette
Randomly abandoned on my messy work desk
Stored in an ancient paint tool kit from my student days
To add to the general sense of disorganisation I also have some brushes in boxes stored in miscellaneous drawers. These are mostly new brushes I don’t want to start using until the bush they are intended to replace have fully given up the ghost.
My inability to keep a fresh pot of water to hand when painting. I use an old coffee jar to store water in when I remember to:
Maybe I ought to treat myself to a new clean ex-consumable glass jar to kick-start a new brush cleaning ritual?
The sorry state of my painting rags:
I need to find some new old bits of rag to use; these are all crispy with coated on dried paint now and so tend to hinder rather then help the process of cleaning brushes.
The fact that I tend to lick my brushes (I will not be taking any photographs of me doing this and I absolutely in no-way condone this practice!).
This again has stemmed from laziness. I only do this with really small brushes to quickly try to re-shape the brush back into a point. As this is an almost subconscious action, to quickly get back to the detail that I am working on, I often forget to wash the brush so it still has paint on it. This not only means that my lips are often smeared with paint, but also that paint gets clogged at the bottom of the brush as it is not washed properly.
I am going to make a more concerted effort to be more organised with my brushes. I really noticed the difference in my mark-making when I switched from an old to new brush last weekend. Anybody have any good tips/ideas on how to organise brushes? I am banning myself from buying any new brushes until I have sorted out what I have already got!