Expensive Brushes

I have quite a few brushes but most of them were inexpensive. My concept of a brush is that it needs to get the paint onto the painting surface. That’s it. I have more small brushes than I think I should but I also have medium and large sizes. There are a couple that I like and use more often. I think I pay more for the smaller brushes.

I was watching a YouTube video about typewriters and it made me think of brushes. I know this sounds bazar but they are both specialised tools, one for the artist and one for the writer. I like mechanical typewriters, I learned to type on an IBM Selectric so I like a tactile feel to the keyboard. The Selectric isn’t really a manual typewriter; it’s electric but it has mechanical keys. Actually I think it was an IBM Selectric II correctible; exactly the same model as you could find in any office of the time. I think of the Typewriter as a very specific tool for a very specific purpose. A brush can be thought of in the same way.

Good brushes have a good tactile feel to them. I brush them onto my fingers to get an idea of what they will feel like to paint with. Expensive brushes may have a great tactile feel but I can’t say that I’ve noticed. I’m rarely aware of the price when I’m choosing a brush but I think natural bristle brushes tend to be on the expensive side. I like synthetic brushes because they have a more consistent feel to them. I would certainly pay more for a brush if it had a really nice feel to it. In looking over my brush collection today I notice that most of them probably cost a fair amount but not so much that it hurt or that I noticed. If the ferules start to get loose I throw them out and buy another. I don’t remember if I paid more for it. So over the years my collection has morphed from inexpensive brushes to medium priced. I’m assuming that new brushes I select cost more, but I just don’t know. I still won’t buy very expensive brushes. I’ve seen artists use brushes that were decrepit at best, but they still do the job of getting the paint onto the painting. If I were looking for a brush to paint ship rigging then I might pay a fair amount to get a good one but I haven’t had the need.

I no longer use a typewriter but I miss my Selectric. My computer keyboard is a mechanical keyboard with a fairly loud click and good tactile feel. It’s one of the type that is used for gaming and keyboarding competitions. My wife and daughters hate it. They think it’s too loud. At one time I used an old IBM keyboard with deforming springs but my present one has a similar feel but with quieter ‘clicky’ keys, I think they are called ‘Cherry Red’ keys. So I’m willing to spend what some feel is an exorbitant amount on a keyboard but I’m unwilling to pay a comparable price for brushes.

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