Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nasty Brushes

It is unfortunate that the tools and supplies used for drawing and painting seem to keep getting of lower quality. It is almost impossible to get really good drawing paper these days. Now even good brushes are hard to find.
I used to have a favorite brush. It was the WINSOR & NEWTON RATHBONE SUPREME BRISTLE BRUSH. For the price, it was a great brush. It moved the paint around well, and they lasted forever. I have brushes that are 4 years old- the bristles are wearing down and getting short, but they still work.
Well, for some crazy reason they discontinued it.
So, I ordered W & N's replacement for the Rathbone brushes. These black handled brushes are called WINSOR & NEWTON ARTIST OIL BRUSHES. They do have a sexy new black handle, but other than that they are inferior in every way. Actually I am not fond of the handle either, since a brush should be held at the end like a conductor's wand and these handles force your grip toward the middle. The bristles were too soft, there seemed to be less in the brush, the sizes are not the same and oddly spaced, they loose a lot of hairs the first few days of painting, and after one cleaning the bristles splay out in all directions. I had them for a few days and returned them all back to Jerry's artarama. I had emailed Winsor Newton, who assured me the new brushes were of the same great quality of as the Rathbone brushes.
Luckily I got my money back and started searching for new brushes. I ended up buying Silver Brand oil brushes, that so far seem acceptable, though not as good as the Rathbone.
I will say the woman at Winsor Newton was nice enough to send me a bunch of brushes for free to try out and to apologize for all the trouble suggesting I got a defective batch.
So, now I have new black handled brushes to try out. They are definitely still inferior. I am attaching below some photos I took ( a bit blurry) of a well used, 3 year old, blue handled Rathbone brush next to a 1 week old black handled W & N Artist Oil Brush. As you can see, the newer brush is a disaster after just a few times painting and a being cleaned in my typical manner. The Rathbone hairs are all pointing in the same direction are even and together and able to make a smooth brush stroke. The newer brush looks like it was struck by lightning. It's like trying to paint with a rake. I would not recommend buying any W & N brushes.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just came upon your blog in passing.

Have you tried Rosemary Brushes here in the UK? They're quite good, but I agree with your comment about the decreasing quality of artist's materials generally.

www.rosemaryand co.com.

Regards,
Kevin.

Anonymous said...

Rathbone brushes are my favorite. All of mine are still good...no splayed ends...but need a few more. My Lexington II's are awful. Every other brush I have are used and awfully splayed. Major frustration when you can't find a good brush anymore. Quality doesn't seem to be important anymore in even more than artist's materials. Karen

Debbie Zick said...

I also love the Rathbone brush and the black handled replacement ones are lousy. Same has happened to Grumbacher round hog. Down hill. I am amazed how we have lost the quality. At Amazon, you can find a couple of the Rathbone brushes.