Tuesday, May 09, 2017

How to clean paint brushes?

How to clean paint brushes?

Some of my students have asked me to write a blog on how to clean paint brushes. Since I teach both acrylics and oils, below, you will find tips on how to clean acrylics and oil brushes.

Acrylics:
How to keep your brushes clean while painting?
Keep a big jar filled with water. Every time you finish using a brush, wipe it with a paper towel or rag and wash it right away to avoid paint drying on the bristles. Then dry it and set it aside while you work with another brush.  Don't let the paint dry on your brush since it makes it harder to remove the paint from the bristles.

How to keep your brushes clean after you finish painting for the day?
Place the brush bristles in between a paper towel or rag and squeeze out the excess paint. Dip and wash the brush around in your cup of water to release any leftover paint. Gently take off the excess water. Then, take the brush to the sink, hold it under warm water and massage the bristles with soap. After you finish rinsing out the soap, wrap the brush bristles in a paper towel or a rag, and squeeze to release water. Let the brush dry horizontally on a table or place on a glass jar with the bristles facing up.

For Oils (walnut oil users only): 
In the studio, we use non-toxic oils made out of walnut oil. We don't use any medium other than walnut oil. So this method only applies to the walnut oil users, and not for all other oil paints.

How to keep your brushes clean while painting? 
While painting, keep two jars filled with walnut oil. To clean your brush, first, wipe the brush with a rag trying to take the excess paint off the brush. Then, dip the brush into the first jar of oil rubbing vigorously to remove any color. With the rag, wipe the oil from the brush again and dip the brush into the second jar to remove any remaining color. Finally, wipe your brush with your rag to remove any remaining oil and complete the process.

What if I am done working on my artwork for the day? 
Since walnut oil dries slowly, the same method described above can be used at the end of the day. The only difference is to make sure that there is no residual paint left on the bristles.

What if I am not going to be working on my artwork for a couple of days or weeks? 
First, use the same method mention above. Then, wash your brushes with mild soap and water. I prefer to wash them with biodegradable dishwasher soap ( like Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap) and warm water. After washing the brushes, I dry them with a towel, and either sit them flat on my painting table or facing up on a glass container.

Before I start painting, I always dip my brushes in the oil and clean them to relax the bristles.

I hope you find this information useful.

Vanessa Montenegro

For more information about my art and my classes, visit vanessamontenegro.com
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©2017 Vanessa Montenegro
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