Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WCW #9: Brush & Paper Matter!

Painting with Jay Lee: Yellow Flowers
Happy Watercolor Wednesday everyone!! This week's post is all about brushes and paper. Trust me...I don't think spending a lot of money is necessary for art supplies. I definitely know that if you gave me a $300 brush today, I wouldn't paint any better or worse than I am right now. On the other hand, artists recommend purchasing the best quality brushes, paper, and paints that you can afford. I am beginning to believe them.

I started this journey painting in student-grade watercolor journals. The spiral binding is convenient because I don't have to worry about the pages flopping around while I'm working. I use a binder clip for the hard-bound journals, but I prefer the flat surface of the spiral-bound journals. 

While I like the cheaper watercolor journals because they are spiral-bound [$8 to $11 range], my pricey watercolor journals [about $25] feel like I am painting on artist-grade paper. The painting above is a student-grade journal I purchased from Amazon. It's a Strathmore journal with 140# paper. Sometimes when I paint in it, the paint will glide easily over the paper. At other times there will be skips or slick spots when pigment is applied. While this is noticeable during painting, it does not seem to affect the final outcome.

Bleeding Hearts: My Design
The Bleeding Hearts and Salvia florals were painted in a hard-bound Strathmore Watercolor Journal, #467-5 and it costs around $25. I can definitely tell a difference when painting in this journal. The paper is consistent and grabs the pigment nicely. The binding is premium quality and the papers are stitched. I really love this journal, but I reserve it for those times when I have a good idea of what I want to paint. Otherwise, I use my cheaper, student grade version. 

Salvia-Purple Velvet: My Design
As far as brushes are concerned, for now, I really love the Master's Touch line from Hobby Lobby. I have three brushes from that line. They all hold water and pigment very nicely and I have great control. Recently, I noticed a big difference with the round brushes. The #16 round comes to a precision point, and after use, it dries to its original shape without feathering. The cheaper version has not 'bounced' back after cleaning, and while painting, I cannot seem to get the fine line as I can with the more pricey version.

The brush on the left does not dry to a clean point.
The Masters Touch brush dries to a point every time.
Unfortunately, when I tried to look for the Masters Touch brand online, I couldn't find a source...not even Hobby Lobby online. I'm thinking my favorite brushes are a line of Windsor and Newton, because they have a similar 1" wash like I have. As I save my coins and purchase more brushes and paper, I'll be sure to update this post with versions of papers and brushes that out-perform the cost.

Please comment below about your favorite 'reasonably-priced' brushes and paper. I'd love to hear from you. Until next week: Paint your heart out!

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