Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Cleaning your brushes for oil painting

To make them last, you have to take good care of your brushes for oil paint. Leave the paint to dry on the brush and you can bin it. How to clean my brushes is one of the first things my father tought me and it is an integral part of my painting routine. A painting session is only finished when all brushes have been cleaned and stored properly.
If you are in a field trip, it is allright to only deep clean your brushes at the end of the day, but don’t wait until the next day.

Here is the process I am using:

  1. Wipe the brush on a rag to remove the excess paint. Make sure you wipe it by pulling the brush towards you, so you don’t run the brush contrary to the hair.
  2. Dip the head of the brush in a jar of solvent to rinse it and then run the brush on the rag to remove the diluted paint. Do not leave the brush to soak in the jar.
  3. Then use liquid soap to remove the rest of the paint. In order to do this, I put a blob of soap in the palm of my hand and drive the soap into the brush tip with circling mouvements to work the soap into bristles. I then gently squeeze the head of the brush between my index and thumb, starting from the ferrule and ending at the tip of the brush, to exude the soap. I do not pull the bristle. I rinse the brush under running water, which helps removing the soap with the “trapped” paint.
  4. I start again with fresh soap in the palm of my hand, until there is no more trace of colour in the soap exuded from the brush head. It will take several goes as the paint gets trapped inside the ferrule.
  5. At the end, use your finger to fashion the hair into its original shape while bristle is moist.
  6. I clean my hand thoroughly. Some paints contain chemicals that can be harmful. If you are concerned about the health and safety of this process, you should wear rubber gloves.
  7. I let the bristle to dry on the edge of the window sill and then store the clean brush in a jar with the bristle-end up (otherwise, it would damage the bristle).


Packaging supplier said...

You can clean your oil painting brush fairly well while working by dipping it into the turpentine and wiping it dry with a rag.

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