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Without recommending a specific product, personally I've found some synthetic mongoose oil brushes to be very nice. The ones I've tried have offered some of the nice qualities of natural hair with good solvent resistance and nice spring even when heavily loaded.
It might (?) help if you described your painting technique a bit more...do you work with thick, pastose paint? Do you apply a series of thin glazes? Matthew's recommendation seems fine to me (as I personally have little to no experience with synthetic hair brushes) but perhaps we can put some queries out if you can elaborate a bit more on your technique.
I have been using sable for many years, and apart from wear from friction at the tip, they generally stay in good condition. They are sometimes exposed to strong solvents like acetone without seeming to suffer.I would also like to change to synthetics but, although they feel very nice to use in the beginning, all that I have tried have quickly started to splay.One particular case I found interesting was where the fibres splayed right near the tip, like a palm tree.Cleaning with anything (soap, mineral spirits, turpentine, acetone), seemed to make no difference and I thought the fibres must have been damaged by solvent. However, I found the tip was restored after using paint stripper!To me, this implies that the paint bonds with the synthetic, (at least this type of synthetic), more readily than it does to natural hair. I'm no chemist though.I have also seen quite a few complaints about synthetics not lasting very long at the 'Painting Best Practices' group on Facebook.Ron Francis
Trekell makes high quality synthetic brushes. https://www.trekell.com. I really enjoy how they handle paint. On the recent Savvy Painter podcast there is a Q and A episode with the owner and specialist discussing their brushes and panels. Give 'em a try.
Thanks so much Matthew, Kristen, Ron, and to the poster who suggested
Trekell. Kristen, to answer your question, I work directly as opposed to
in glazes but thin my paint with Gamsol and linseed oil until it
brushes on smoothly. I try to strike a balance of fluidity and opacity. I
also work on a very smoothly sanded acrylic or oil ground. My paintings
have gestural passages which fade into flat color fields and surface is
an important component. For the gestural passages, I like to use soft,
round brushes that maintain a nice point. In the flatter color fields, I
use larger, soft, flat brushes. Because of the way the transitions are
composed though, the round brushes make up some of the color fields
before the flat brushes take over. I'll often have over ten brushes
going in a single painting to help me keep the colors clean. Like Ron
mentioned, synthetic sable brushes start out nice and then get easily
splayed which is frustrating. Sable is cost prohibitive because I use so
many brushes, and I also prefer not to use animal products. I will look
into synthetic mongoose and Trekell brushes, and try cleaning my
splayed burshes with paint stripper. Thanks again! -Aliza
For synthetic brushes, I happen to like: Escoda (Versatil), Raphael (Kevrin) and actually Princeton's new Aspen series. I mainly use synthetics with only the background done in bristle hair brushes. These can be ordered online via Jerry's Artarama and Dick Blick. If you are in the NYC metro area, Jerry's Intenational Palette Shop has the Escoda and the Raphael. Blick stores seem to now carrier the Princeton Aspen and may carry the other two depending on the store.
I have heard really good things about Rosemary & Co's best synthetic bristle. Not sure what it is called but it is on their website.
good luck and enjoy! - Karmen