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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: Studio, Brush Cleaning & Mediums

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone


Studio, Brush Cleaning & Mediums

Hello everyone, and thanks for visiting once again. I've noticed lately that cleaning artist brushes has been a hotly discussed topic. Most artists dread the time when painting is done and it's time to clean up. Brushes can literally take more than half an hour to clean, and it's just plain boring. I do tend to use that time to zone out a bit, so when I look back at the piece I've worked on I usually have a new perspective. Unfortunately I find it hard to walk away and then start getting my brushes full of paint again!

I have owned the majority of my brushes for over 25 years. I attribute this to the care I have taken when cleaning. I also embrace any methods that do not use toxic chemicals. In the past I used Lava soap, and I still do about once a month on my brushes, but I use it all the time to wash the paint off my hands. My brush cleaner of choice is now Canola Oil. Yes, the kind you purchase at the grocery store. For my Brit friends I found out from Cat Salter that you call it Rape Seed Oil. You can work it through your brushes just like you would any other cleaner, using a rag to wipe off the paint and oil. The brushes stay soft and supple! The only thing you will need to get used to is that they won't feel really clean. The brushes will actually feel a little gummy. This is why at the end of the month I give them a good cleaning with the Lava soap. If for some reason I'm not going to be using my brushes for a while, I give them a coating of Vaseline jelly.

People have asked me what mediums I use with my paints. I like my oil paint to dry very slowly. I prefer Alla Prima painting but of course am not always able to finish a painting in one sitting. To slow my drying time I use Poppy Seed oil, which I purchase from Daniel Smith. If prolonging drying time is not necessary I use refined Linseed oil. For toxicity reasons I do not use cadmium paints. I only use cadium hues. Many manufacturers have been able to stabilize the cadmium, making it a safer paint.

I had not post this before, but right after the holidays I moved into my new studio. My husband and I converted our old house trailer, the one we used when I traveled with him and the shark show. He built a deck off the front and put a cork floor in. It's a great space with huge windows in the back and a great sky light. It also has a full kitchen, which comes in handy for coffee!


That's it for the brush cleaning seminar. Make sure to visit the blog of Cat Salter who also has some tips on brush cleaning. And if you're interested in a great book on Alla Prima painting I highly recommend a book by Al Gury. I actually had the privelage of taking a class with him when I attended the Pennslyvannia Academy of Fine Arts.  Thanks as always for visiting! Let me know what your brush cleaning tips are, I look forward to hearing from you!



Blogger Marie Wise said...

I've used Oil of Olay soap to clean my brushes for years. I figure it it's good for faces, it's good for my brushes. They continue to stay good as new!

April 25, 2010 at 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Evelyn McCorristin Peters said...

Marie, thanks for visiting, that's the best one I've heard yet, never even though of Oil of Olay! Probably would be good for me, sometimes I forget and touch my face with Canola Oil on my hands, skin breaks out soon after! Thanks for commenting!

April 26, 2010 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Cori Lynn Berg said...

Wow.. i had no idea you could use such household items... good to know!

April 26, 2010 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger Wendy Wright said...

Great post Evelyn! Thanks for sharing your tips! I love your new studio...woohoo! :)

April 26, 2010 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Evelyn McCorristin Peters said...

Cori, thanks so much for leaving your comment and visiting my blog, I really do appreciate when people give feedback! These tips can really save you money. One thing I forgot to mention is that I use old phone books to wipe my brushes of excess paint...saves on always tearing up old shirts for rags!

April 27, 2010 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Evelyn McCorristin Peters said...

Hey Wendy, thanks as always for visiting, you are a very supportive person who I now consider a friend! It's pretty neat to develop these relationships, even when we never actually see each other! I forgot to add the picture of the deck my husband built for me outside of my studio, I'll add that in another post. Hope all is well!

April 27, 2010 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Kugler said...

Evelyn, these are great tips for using different kinds of oil. I'm really fairly new to oil paints and had heard of using walnut oil instead of linseed oil, but did not realize you could also use all that you mentioned here. Thanks for sharing these great tips~

April 30, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

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