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Richard Rooker acrylic artist workplace brushes diy oil paints organization organizers paintbrush painting studio help studio tip watercolor

I remember when I first started painting in watercolors.  I had some inexpensive little set from the hobby store with 5 brushes for $9.95 or something.  Now I pay as much as $40 a crack sometimes, with plenty of opportunity to pay more, much more.   Think Kolinski Sable.  But the lesson learned was always buy the best you can afford, and this applies to not only brushes but paints and paper.  But if you’ve been doing this awhile, you probably already figured that out.

It wasn’t long of course before the brush “collection” started to build.  And like your favorite work shirts, when they become old and worn, you just can’t find the courage to throw those old brushes away.  After all, they created some of your best works!  Like most of us, we have that special collection of brushes, our “go to” selection, the ones we use all the time, depending of course on the subject matter and size of the the work.

So now pretty soon comes the challenge of how to store these brushes.  I remember going to a plein air exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ and I think I found an artist there who would win the prize for most paint brushes at a sitting.

But I didn’t like this “stacked in a jar” (or bucket in this guy’s case).  It was like fumbling around in your kitchen gadget drawer.  My solution: PVC.  This collection started out with a single row and just grew from there.  I just cut lengths of ½” and ¾” PVC and glued them together with PVC glue (kind of looked like a pan flute) and then using 90 angle irons on both ends screwed to the two end tubes, I screwed the glued up collection to a board. Important:  When mounting the angle irons to the PVC tubes, be sure you allow for an 1/8” space at the bottom of the tubes so water can run through them and not collect in the bottom.  Then, as the collection grew, it was just a matter of gluing on more rows or single tubes of PVC.

For “in process organizing” of your brushes, your fingers come in very handy.  Four brushes at a time is the most I have ever worked with.  Here is the fistful I was using while doing a very large sky/cloud rendering!

Keep Making Art!


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