Photo of tornado damage to home

Gone With the Wind

A couple days ago I promised a blog about paintbrush care. Unfortunately, I had to take a few days off because of unforeseen circumstances. As you can see from the photo, we encountered a slight bump in the road. We are all safe. The rest is all stuff. It can be replaced. Most of the art was saved. I’m banged up a bit but nothing serious. I’ll be typing with one hand and hobbling around for awhile but each day is getting a little better.

Now for some brushcare tips that I promised. First, lets look at the parts of a brush. The hairs or bristles are called the head of the brush. The very tip/edge of the head is called the chisel. With an angle brush, the long tip is called the toe and the short side, the heel. The hairs are glued to the handle or shaft and are kept in place by a metal piece called the ferrule. So now that we have the terms, it will be easier to discuss care.

When you first buy a brush, run your finger along the chisel to break up the sizing, and then wet the hairs with water and soap or brush cleaner. If using soap, go for a mild bar or liquid and avoid harsh detergents. There are some fantastic brush cleaners out there, too.  Personally, I use liquid hand soap. Squirt a small amount into the palm of my hand and stroke the brush back and forth in it to get it worked into the hairs, rinse thoroughly. Reshape the head and dry flat.

If there had been paint in my brush, I would repeat the soap and rinse steps until all color is out of the brush. Then continue with the drying. Once dry, dressing the brush head in extender or retarder will keep the hairs from becoming brittle. I use DecoArt Extender Medium.  I put a few drops of it onto a waxed palette, dip my brush into it and stroke back and forth on a clean spot of the palette. Then I pinch wipe out the excess with a folded paper towel,

Acrylic paint, no matter what brand, is very hard on the bristles. The extender will act as a barrier, protecting the bristles. You can use it in place of water to help the paint to flow through the hairs. And, having extender on your brush will help the paint to release during cleaning.

When I paint I usually do not clean my brush between colors. I simply pinch wipe and pick up the next pigment.  The extra bits of color will add harmony throughout the painting. But, there are times when you’ll want to clean paint build up out of the brush before continuing. When this happens, do not set the brush in a water pail or scape it across a ridged pail bottom. Keep the brush shallow and swish it around in the water. Pinch wipe between paper towels and redress in extender, pinch wipe again and you are ready to go.

Try to avoid getting water or paint into the ferule, which could loosen the glue and flay the hairs, so the head will no longer have a sharp chisel.

Mops are a different beast altogether. I’ll try to get back on tomorrow to cover them.

If you find this post helpful, please share with your friends. And, if you have any questions about care and use of brushes, please comment and I will get back with you.


6 thoughts on “Gone With the Wind

  1. Tom & Sue

    Hi Lynnette. So grateful that you weren’t hurt worse!! Was that the living room or den you were in? As you say, most lost were material things that can be replaced. It sure came close. Did you have warning that a storm was going to be so bad? I LOVE your painting and the fact that you share your knowledge with students. Take time to heal my friend. As long as we know you are improving bit by bit, we will be thankful!!! God be with you and your family!! Fondly; Sue Sheffer Traverse City, MI 49696


    1. Lynnette Post author

      It really was miracle I wasn’t hurt worse. I got knocked down by the wind crashing through the house. And when I looked up all I could see was a sea of insulation and it swirling about in the air. The photo is just of the living room, but the roof was ripped off the garage, dining room and kitchen, as well. There was junks of ceiling and debris everywhere. Then the rain started. So it’s quite a mess now. I was watching the weather when it happened and they had just said to expect a line of thunderstorms to hit my town in about 10 minutes. Seconds latter this happened. It may take a while, but we will be back on our feet.

      Thank you for the compliment about my work. Outside of faith and family, art is everything to me. I want to be able to instill my love of art in others and help beginning artists get started on their journeys. Of course, some of my patterns are for intermediate artists and I’ll have blogs directed to them in the future. Your comment today is just what I needed to lift my heart. Thank you so much.


  2. Vera Campbell

    This is a problem with me . I
    Don’t treat my brushes in the right way. I’m glad you shared your way. I have a lot of brushes that after a period of time I have caused them to flair in the middle ! I’m so glad your getting better . Thank you for this very informative post .


    1. Lynnette Post author

      So glad you found this helpful, Vera. I wonder when I’m giving out such basic info if people find it useful. I just think what would I have wanted to know from the beginning and post that.


  3. Sheila Landry

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is so important to keep our brushes in good shape if we want them to preform well for us.

    Regarding your house – I am so happy you are alright. I know it is heart wrenching to have something like that happen, but the important thing is that you and your family escaped injury and are still here to tell about it. Houses can be replaced. Many (((HUGS))) to you Lynette. 🙂



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