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How To Clean Your Brush

A Quick Tutorial 

Taking care of your paintbrushes is important. They can be expensive to keep buying new ones, so cleaning your used paint brushes so that you can reuse them is vital to your painting experience. If you know how to take care of them, they can last you much longer. 

Cleaning your brushes at the end of each painting session can take some time but it is always worth it. So here are some easy ways to clean the paint right out of your brush. 

Clean your brush immediately after use. The more time the paint on it has to dry, the harder it will be to clean out of your bristles. This is especially true if you paint with acrylics and watercolors as they dry faster. Even with oil paints, if you neglect cleaning them well or thoroughly, even the nicest brushes will be ready for the ole' trash can. 

If you're going for a quick clean, use SoHo Studio Wipes (pictured above). They will work especially well with acrylics and watercolors. They have a gentle, effective cleanser that can easily pull the paint right off of your brush. They are disposable and easy to use for a quick cleaning. 

For a more thorough cleaning, Jerrys offers many solvents for cleaning brushes and palette knives. However, one of the best ones has to be our new Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Brush Cleaner. It is a non-toxic alternative to turpentine that works just as well, just without all of the harmful odors and harsh chemicals. 

To clean your brush thoroughly, take your brush and rinse it under warm water for acrylics or watercolors. For oils, you definitely want to try the lavender brush cleaner or mineral spirits. Take the solvent and work it into the brush head with your fingers rubbing the paint out of it. Do not apply too much pressure or you may lose your bristle on the brush. Work with the solvent in your brush until you are rinsing it without any paint coming out with it. 

It is important to really use your fingers and squeeze at the base so that there is no build up of paint hiding in the base of your brush. Holding your brush in a SoHo Studio Wipe or paper towel as you squeeze the paint out will help keep your hands clean. Make sure you do this a few times to get all the paint out, just to be sure. Remember, you don't want to neglect cleaning your brushes so that they will last longer and you will get your money's worth. 

A good tip for when you finish washing your brush out with solvent is to take some liquid soap in your hand and scrub the paintbrush back and forth in the soap in your hand to let the soap soak into the bristles and pull out any extra pigment that is hiding in there. Then just rinse with warm water. 

Finally, to dry the brush, store the brush head-side-down or vertically in a brush washer drying rack to let it dry and let any remaining water or solvent fall back into the container. This action will help keep your brush heads in shape and longer lasting

It seems like a simple task, but remember, it just might save your life. 


Happy Belated Birthday Gustave Courbet

Happy Belated 138th Birthday Courbet!

Self Portrait with Black Dog, 1842 

Yes we know we are a bit late on this one, Gustave Courbet's birthday is actually June 10th. But let's blame the author of this blog for celebrating his own birthday. Getting back to Courbet, he was born on June 10th, 1819 in Omans, Doubs, France and was a French leader of the Realist movement in the 19th-century. 

He is remarkable as an artist not only for his skill, but his staunch refusal of academic conventions and would "only paint what he could see". He was a true innovator in the field of painting and challenged the normal politics of art by painting peasants and workers on a scale reserved for religious or historical portraits and scenes. His other work involved realistic landscapes, seascapes, hunting scenes, nudes and still lifes. 

He was briefly educated working at the studio of Steuben and Hesse, but left to independently study at the Louvre painting copies of Spanish, Flemish and French master paintings. And, although the Paris Salon said at the time that History Painting was "a painter's highest calling", Courbet denounced the notion saying that true art comes from the artist's experience

Courbet even wrote a Realist Manifesto for one of his personal exhibitions with these wise words:

"The title of Realist was thrust upon me just as the title of Romantic was imposed upon the men of 1830. Titles have never given a true idea of things: if it were otherwise, the works would be unnecessary.

Without expanding on the greater or lesser accuracy of a name which nobody, I should hope, can really be expected to understand, I will limit myself to a few words of elucidation in order to cut short the misunderstandings.

I have studied the art of the ancients and the art of the moderns, avoiding any preconceived system and without prejudice. I no longer wanted to imitate the one than to copy the other; nor, furthermore, was it my intention to attain the trivial goal of "art for art's sake". No! I simply wanted to draw forth, from a complete acquaintance with tradition, the reasoned and independent consciousness of my own individuality.

To know in order to do, that was my idea. To be in a position to translate the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my time, according to my own estimation; to be not only a painter, but a man as well; in short, to create living art - this is my goal."

-Gustave Courbet, 1855                                                                      

Courbet's art left a lasting legacy with younger painters such as Claude Monet, James McNeill Whistler, Paul Cezanne, and even Edward Hopper.

Gustave Courbet spent the later half of his life in jail and exile after his involvement of the Paris Commune and he lived out his exile in Switzerland from 1873-1877 when he died at age 58 in La Tour-de-Peliz, Switzerland. 

Courbet's Art 

Self Portrait (The Desperate Man), 1845

The Stone Breakers, 1849

The Trout, 1871

Fox in the Snow, 1860

The Grain Sifters, 1854

The Castle of Chillon, 1874

The Wave, 1870


Which Courbet Painting is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


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