Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Experimenting with New Brushes, and a New Nude Painting

Today at the Society of Figurative Arts we were privileged to paint from a nude model. SOFA's director, Michael Mentler, is a representative for Rembrandt art products, and they are always sending him samples to experiment with. Today he had some new brushes he wanted me to try out. A series of fine red sable brushes (series 240), they are already distributed in Europe, but have yet to be marketed in the United States. Our nude model was the perfect subject for testing the subtleties and nuances of these new brushes. Actually, I wanted to see how they'd compare to Rosemary & Co. brushes. They are my absolutely favorites (series 279, especially), and I've had a hard time finding anything I'd rather use!

I quickly discovered that the Rembrandt brushes were wonderful to work with. I blocked in my painting with Rembrandt Transparent Oxide Brown thinned with medium (5x Gamsol, 1x Damar varnish, 1x stand oil), then picked up the sables instead of using a traditional bristle brush to start pushing paint around. The sables flowed really well, particularly the flats.

Here is the finished painting:

"Seated Nude" - 16x12 - oil on linen

... and some detail shots.

At the hairline and ear in particular, you can see that the Rembrandt brushes produce the same effect that a Rosemary mongoose brush can as far as softening. Nancy Guzik calls it her "Happy Brush." The brush must be clean and dry in order for this effect to work without over-blending or causing the paint to look muddy.

I hope Rembrandt brings these brushes to the U.S. soon. I am eager to use them. I told Michael I wasn't going to give them back to him at the end of the session, but... I did... (reluctantly!) :-)


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