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May 15, 2015

How to Keep Your Oil Painting Brushes Clean...


Hey all, here is a quick studio trick for all the oil painters!



Why? Because I am lazy...

Enjoy!

TJK

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10 reader comments:

Judy P. said...

Love the video- I do this too! But I use baby (mineral oil), I wonder if safflower oil works differently? Gosh I love when pro painters share real-world tips- the real workaday stuff, thanks!

Thomas Kitts said...

Judy, Thanks for your comment.

I don't advise anyone to use baby oil to keep their brushes from drying out. It is a non-drying mineral oil. Key word here is mineral, and a little bit of it will get into your paint film, either from the brush or from the solvent you paint with, assuming you use a solvent.

Safflower oil from the grocery store isn't considered an artist-grade drying oil, but it is commonly found in whites and lighter oil colors, with a small amount of drier added by the manufacturer. Mostly because it is considered to yellow and darken less than traditional linseed oil.

So I'd recommend that you switch to the safflower oil. It will work exactly the same but without endangering the painting.

Judy P. said...

Oh, I will switch to the safflower oil- thanks for always helping me improve!

Thomas Kitts said...

You are quite welcome. Helping is what this blog is all about.

If, after making the switch, you miss the baby (mineral) oil for some reason please let me know. I'd like to know why.

Happy painting!

T

G. Lindwood said...

Hmmm, could one use olive oil when in Italy…?

Thomas Kitts said...

Gretha, in truth, I resorted to using olive oil I found in a kitchen while traveling in Morocco. There was no solvents or other oils in the area I was in. So olive oil will work too but of course you still can't paint with it as a medium. :-)

Julie Kessler said...

Thomas, it was great meeting you yesterday in Central Park. I love your idea about keeping your brushes in oil overnight, but I have a question for you: don't the tips of the brushes bend out of shape when you leave them upside down? How do you keep this from happening? Thanks!

Thomas Kitts said...

Hi Julie. It was a pleasure to meet you and your friend too.

You ask a sensible question. Here the thing: if the brushes are hog hair then the deflection will be minimal to nonexistent. Water softens natural brush hair, not oil. (Think of your hair for example, when you wash it.) Now I wouldn't do this with any fine kolinsky sables, but you should not be painting in oil with those either. Nylon brushes are fine so long as we aren't doing this to riggers.

But if bending the hair is a concern you can do what a friend of mine does. He uses safflower oil, but in a paint roller pan. That way the brush can lay on its side and not on the hair. But I don't like picking up a brush and having oil on the handle so I do it this way. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

And yes, I think it would be awesome to come back to NYC and teach a plein air workshop in the park. I am glad to finally see someone out painting in it...

Thomas Kitts said...

Oh, and Julie, the coils around the handle are there to hold a brush suspended above the bottom of the jar. That's what I do if the brush is small and can't support its own weight. So no deflection there either.

JAH said...

Im glad I saw this. I was thinking of shelling out $30 for brush dip sold by Geneva. It's artist grade safflower oil with a little clove leaf oil in the mix. Buying safflower oil from the grocery store will save some money.