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As stated, I want to be able to wash brushes with soap and water, shape them with the help of some product, and use them in the morning without having to rinse them in sovent.Candidate products so far are saliva, gum arabic, egg white, and maybe milk. I'm leaning toward gum arabic.My question is, will any of these unduly affect the paint film if it is not washed out of the brush before using?Ron Francis.
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Just to be a little clearer, I want to shape them while the brushes are still wet after washing.Ron Francis.
In theory, I would not use milk or egg white as they can
eventually become insoluble if you fail to wash them out. Gum Arabic will not
do this but again, in theory, the dry residue would likely become incorporated
into the paint. I keep writing “in theory” because in practice, this is
unlikely to cause any real problem. The percentage left in the paint would be infinitesimal.
There is really no issue with saliva (HOWEVER make sure to
not put the brush into your mouth as there be some remaining pigment or metal
ions, also do not transfer the materials from the brush to your mouth).
On the other hand, I also knew a painter who would shape
their expensive kolinski brushes with the wash water and then reinforce the point
with a single ply of toilet paper. They would then remove that at the beginning
of the next painting session. It seemed to work well for her.
Thanks once again Brian.My main concern about gum arabic is the possibility it may be reactive in some way. If it is inert, then I can't see how it could pose a problem.I imagine diluted would be better.Thanks for the recommendation not to put brushes in my mouth. It would be easy to think the brush would be clean so it wouldn't be a concern.Ron Francis
I think methyl cellulose would be worth considering for this application.
Brian, any comment on methyl cellulose?And Mathew (and Brian), I've found that hairs can be softened by manipulating between my fingers when I've tried gum arabic. That is, it doesn't have to be rinsed out. Would this be the same with methyl cellulose?
Methyl cellulose is generally a weaker, less brittle
adhesive than gum Arabic and may be a better solution. It should still be a
very weak solution. It would function the same in that it could be manipulated
our by hand if of the proper weak solution (you would need to do experiments to
find this out yourself). Like gum, this means that a tiny amount of it will get
incorporated into the oil paint but at that level I cannot see it causing future
I'm finding that gum arabic powders off fairly readily before use.
Rather than dipping into a solution, I'm applying it with my fingers so that it appears to form a skin on the outside rather than penetrating.
I have used hair conditioner for a number of years - no problems and brushes stay in shape
I doublt very much that hair conditioner is a good idea, but I'll leave it for a moderator to omment on that.Ron Francis
Hair conditioner contains a vast number of components
including non-drying oils/fats, emulsifiers, and a wide array of materials that
would certainly condition the hairs of your brush but could really compromise
any paint that it is contaminated with. It may be all right if one rinses the
brush in water and then an organic solvent before using with oil paint. I would
caution against this practice unless one is willing to be scrupulous in the
above practice. This reminds me of the practice of sign painters keeping their
sign painting quills in lard or mineral oil to keep them conditioned. These
needed to be scrupulously washed in organic solvents before use or the sign
paint would not “dry”.