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Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's in a brush?

I have a fairly standard set of brushes that I use in most paintings, but my tried and true synthetic brush that I use for lifting paint was beginning to show its age; it had lost its point and just wasn't right for my needs.  Since Nicholas Simmons had just announced his new signature brush collection through Escoda Brushes,  I decided to buy two of them to give them a try.  Previously I had visited the Escoda website to learn about their history and brush making techniques.   I purchased the Nicholas Simmons Series 2 set which contains:

  • BARROCO Series 1410 Round Pointe #16

  • BARROCO Series 2336 Mottler Single Thickness #18 (about 1.5" flat)

Often I don't like synthetic brushes because they don't hold enough water, but these Barroco brushes were very thirsty, holding a lot of pigment.  I love the round, using it instead of a Kolinsky round I have used for years.  The point is great, the tip springy, and the volume of pigment it holds is fantastic.

I recently finished a painting of a village in Flores, Guatemala and found the flat was great for working on the buildings.  Again it held a lot of pigment allowing me to pull the colors throughout the painting and the square edge stayed firm giving me crisp edges where I needed them.  I augmented these 2 brushes with a 3/4" Kolinsky flat that I have loved for years.  I can use it to quickly brush the surface when I want to remove a little water without moving around the color.  It was the only other brush I have used in the paintings I've done since the Escoda brushes arrived.   By the way, neither will be used for lifting paint, these brushes are too wonderful for that.

Nick - Thanks for the great brush collection.  I suspect Series 1 can't be too far off in my future.

Also see Konstantin Sterkhov's interview of Nick which includes his thoughts on Escoda brushes.


  1. I bought both series, April - the first time actually buying a brand for me. I love the points and the flat brush is spectacular - it has such a different almost silky feel - my old ones can't hold a candle to it!

    1. The silky feel of the flat really is amazing.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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