Painting 101 - Journey to the West - Using Chinese Brushes for painting

Why use Chinese brushes for western painting?

Curiosity; and why not!

For years since I bought these Chinese Brushes (insert photo) I finally used them as I had intended. There was a trial and error phase.

Although the original intended use was to try using them with liquid acrylic ink painting, the first few attempts were painful and some just a disaster!

I knew one of the basic characteristic of Chinese Brushes is its amazing ability to "pick up" large volume of liquid /ink but had to give up trying as the results were horridenous leaving bubbles in the paint. The brush could "pick up" or store different colours in liquid ink.But it worked against me as I did not paint on paper, I wanted to paint on canvas.

The tip or trick is to use the brushes as when dry (do not dip them on water first or at all) and not on acrylic liquid ink - which is acrylic tube paint mixed with painting glaze medium.

If I had to remove the paint off the brushes during painting, I use paper kitchen towel to clean the paint off.

Only after painting do I clean the brushes with soap and water.

The result and why I use Chinese Brushes

Here is one sample of my painting titled "Sunrise with Cows" which is done mostly using Chinese Brushes.

The cows are painted using (western) synthetic fine brush.

Sunrise with Cows

Chinese brushes are cheap if they are made with synthetic fibers, the best part these brushes are very soft and bristles very fine.

Comparing to the brushes used for acrylic painting, the fine and cheap ones are still coarse to my standard and sometimes the bristles create drag marks on the paint surface.

Tip 101

To use any cheap brush please try them on small scale piece, as the saying goes what is cheap is not necessarily good but I say if it is cheap, it may be good!

The finish of cheap brushes may have bristles not fused properly such loose hairs; its an artist nightmare for light-coloured smooth finish (like the art featured here) that has strands of hair all over the place on the surface.

On the other note

In my collection, my most expensive brush which I bought when I first started painting is a hog-brush that cost $45. That hog-brush is one of my all time favorite but I did not buy any more expensive brushes till today.

I presume the tools one use must suit one's painting style for the piece of art, I like expressive painting - fast and loose so big brushes are able to cover the area with a few sweep of paints.

Thank you for reading till the end of this post and I hope you may find the information rather interesting.

Happy experimenting and painting.




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