Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Good Tip

It's not unusual for me to dream about what I do. In a previous gardening phase, my dreams were about dirt (really) and the various scientific names of plants. As a runner, the dreams were about the lightness of being and swiftness of foot as I ran favorite paths and trails. When we are in Mexico, I dream in Spanish. As a mediocre beginning student of French, I dreamed in French. But I've never had a dream about painting. Well, not exactly, but last night I dreamed about cleaning my paint brushes. What this means subconsciously is anybody's guess.

Cleaning paint brushes is a major aspect of the day to day life of a painter. A good artist paint brush is an expensive investment. And keeping the brush tip clean is a worthwhile activity. With a lot of trial and error, I've figured out a successful system (for me) for cleaning the paint out of the brushes. Maybe it will be helpful for you as well.

To start, (this links to a good article) squeeze as much paint from the brush as possible with a paper towel, working from the metal part that holds the bristles outward.

Then, swish the brush in a jar of Turpenoid, an odorless turpentine, and again wipe with a paper towel.

After most of the paint is removed this way, take a toothbrush and Palmolive (tough on grease, soft on hands) or Dawn dish soap (Dawn takes grease out of your way), and under running water, work the toothbrush (again, in the direction of the bristle) until the soap and water run clear.

After lightly drying the paintbrush, use some Master's Brush Cleaner to condition the brushes. Swirl the brush in the hard soap, and if needed, reshape the brush before it dries.

It's important to note that the brushes need to dry laying down on their side.

After drying overnight, the brushes can be placed in a jar type container for storage, with the tips pointing up.

This process is specific for oil paints, though when using acrylics, one need only omit the Turpenoid step.

Here's hoping for happier dreams tonight, which we will psychoanalyze in the morning.

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