Let me show you my best painting secret!
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A review of my favorite Rosemary and Co oil painting brushes by Malcolm Dewey
Do premium, professional brushes make a difference to your painting? Are they worth the cost? I was able to get some answers when I recently received my new Rosemary & Co oil painting brushes from The Italian Art Shop in Cape Town.
The Classic bristle brushes included long flats, filbert and Egbert brushes. A rigger brush rounded off the bristle brushes. A fine hair badger brush from their Master’s Choice series was included too.
First impressions? The bristle brushes have interlocking bristles which means that the brush keeps its shape. No splaying or misshapen bristles ensures each brushstroke is true. There is good flex in the bristles too. The handles are long and the manufacturing quality is excellent. There is also a generous amount of bristles in each brush. The brush head seemed thicker than other premium brushes that I have used.
The Egbert brush was impressive with especially long bristles for a more carefully applied paint stroke. The rigger also has lovely long bristles making it a superb brush for fine lines.
Rosemary & Co are a small UK based company that hand make their brushes. They have a fast growing following among artists worldwide including many artist superstars. So I was keen to use the brushes and see what the fuss was all about.
My Studio Workhorse
I was not disappointed. The long flat brush is the workhorse brush in my studio. It must withstand vigorous brushwork. Be versatile enough to be used for many different strokes and not lose bristles in the process. The brush must keep its shape after daily cleaning and last for several months or more. This long flat easily ticked all of those boxes. So too the filbert. The rigger was a delight when I used it in a painting of yachts. Of course to paint the rigging and to sign my name.
What About a Fine Hair Paint Brush?
The badger hair brush is sublime for fine paint strokes in the true old master tradition. This brush has a generous amount of hair making up the brush head. The brush should last years if cared for. See my suggested method for cleaning brushes.
Although the brushes may cost more than basic student brushes they will last a long time if properly cared for. Much longer than cheap brushes. Plus the quality of brushwork is markedly improved. Precise brush-marks, clean lines and edges are assured. Plus no frustrating hairs falling out during the painting process! All of these qualities make for better paintings and a happy painting experience for the artist.
All things considered Rosemary & Co brushes are an excellent investment for both amateur and professional artists.
PS: You can see these brushes in action in my yacht painting demo here.
This review also appeared in the SA Artist Magazine. Subscribe to this magazine here.