I’ve bought some art stuff lately, so I thought I’d post some mini-reviews, of which this is the first. Here is some stuff from Natural Pigments. Alas, I get no kickbacks if you buy this stuff. I also bought some lead white primer, but I haven’t used it yet so you’ll just have to wait.
Badger brush set
Badger hair is traditional for making brushes used for blending oil paint, so I broke down and bought this set from Natural Pigments. There is a fan, a round, and two sizes of flats. So far, I’ve just tried the round, but for blending it is just lovely. I had been doing most blending with a synthetic round, and wow! The badger beats that by a mile. Highly recommended if you paint in a style that involves rendering. I wish I’d bought these a long time ago.
#2 Bristle flat brushes
These were cheap, so I bought a few. The handles are nicely laquered in a natural wood color. The ferules are firmly set and double crimped. The brush hairs are well set (flags facing inward), with the annoyance of a few stray hairs that needed trimming. The brushes hold their shape under heavy use and have the right level of resistance when moving paint. These are an excellent value for inexpensive brushes.
This is calcite ground with a blend of bodied and refined linseed oils. I’ve made basically the same stuff myself, but it’s convenient to have some already made up in a jar. It’s light gray and the consistency of oil paint. Mixed with paint it adds no color, but makes it more transparent. This is a good medium for velaturas and for making strongly tinting pigments less strong without losing body. I haven’t noticed that it has much effect on the brushing properties of the paint. They have a similar medium that’s specifically for impasto, but that’s not how I paint. This stuff won’t magically let you paint like Velazquez, but it is useful and inexpensive.