The look of your painting is controlled by various factors. One very important one is the brush and its size. While many artists run to use many brushes, for most of my paintings I will use 2 or 3. This gives wonderful harmony to the techniques. Painting a large rose for example with a small brush will give lots of stroke movement. Using that same brush to paint flowing scrolls will give that same movement and thus harmony in technique. Changing to different brushes within the painting can make objects appear disjointed. While we may desired many brushes in a landscape to show different objects and textures, it is not always wise in other genre. How many brushes and brush types you use can give more interest, and in many cases too much interest, and it can also give harmony. The artist must balance the choice because a rose painted with a # 4 will look different than one painted with a # 10. I will try many times when painting roses and scrolls to paint them both using the same size brush so while they have contrast of color and form, they have consistency in technique giving harmony to the painting.
The choice of brush when painting scrolls and scroll leaves is essential. When I first started painting back in the 1970’s we used natural hair brushes. The natural hair “flows” with the movement of the hand giving less hard edges and a relaxed graceful movement to scroll work. In the 1980’s and 1990’s with the rise in popularity of acrylics, synthetic brushes became more popular. We all used them. While the synthetic brushes gave tremendous details because they “snap” to the movement of the hand, they could also make a design feel more “stiff”. At that time though, the use of patterns and precise detail were popular among painters. In 2005 we invented a brush for watercolor work. In 2008 we made it into filberts and eventually flats. The filberts and flats became popular among our alla prima acrylic painters. They gave more relaxed edges and flowed nicely with the movement of the hand. Not as stiff as a pure synthetic. The brush emulates the squirrel natural hair brushes so it sits between the stiffer synthetics and the natural hairs. I use this brush from almost all my paintings now. From scroll work to landscapes. The brush does make a difference. Just like carpet, tile, wood floors all feel different under your feet, different hairs and brushes will feel different in your hands. Grab one…. learn it, and control it. Reduce the number you are using and add greater harmony to your painting. Not every painting needs 15 brushes. Have a great painting day!