Welcome to Masterclass

Learning tools for artists

Brush Cleaning

Showing tips and techniques for brush care including using Acrylic Slow Drying Medium when painting with acrylics. For oil brushes, the best choices are solvents, Safflower Oil or Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner. Top tips include how to create a tray for holding your brushes flat so the tips do not become curved and for suspending them in a jar of Safflower Oil for a less harsh cleaning process than solvents. All the guidance here will give your brushes longevity.

Video Transcript
0:09    Hi, I'd like to show you how to keep your brushes in good working order. Whether your brushes are being used for oils or acrylics, caring for your brushes will make sure that they give you long service. Acrylic can really punish your brush because it dries so quickly. Adding some retarder to the colour prior to painting will slow the drying rate, not only on the palette and the painting, but most importantly on your brush.

0:39    So, to keep your brushes moist during the painting session without distorting the tips, use this simple setup: A foil tray or shallow dish, a paper towel and some water. It may seem obvious but wiping the paint off your brush before dipping it into the Sansodor will keep the solvent cleaner for longer. Safflower oil is a low odour alternative to using solvents for cleaning brushes during the painting session. And due to its fairly slow drying rate, safflower can be used for storing brushes between sessions.

1:36    Here, I've clamped the brushes between two sticks to prevent distorting the tips. This reduces the need to wash the brushes in water at the end of each session. When the time comes to give the brushes a thorough clean, safflower oil efficiently removes the paint, avoiding the use of harsh solvents, whilst keeping the natural hairs in great condition. Rinse in soap and water or better still, Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner.

2:06    This efficient cleaner is solvent free and will even soften hardened oil or acrylic with a day's soaking. Finally, I wrap the bristles with some paper towel. I learnt this at art school. This will bring even the most wayward of bristles to a point.

I hope this helps you care for your brushes!