A Brush with Phthalo Blue

In Color Week 42 we are exploring brushes and the color Phthalo Blue.

There are so many brushes! There are real hair brushes like sable and camel, synthetic brushes, water brushes and specialty brushes such as bamboo and sumi brushes.

everyone has a favorite brush, here we do a simple exploration of the options

  • Round – these brushes come to a point. They provide long even lines. Sizes range from very fine to broad – shown here are 000, 00 and 6
  • Flat – these brushes end in a square, blunt edge. They come in different widths, 1/2″ shown. They’re good for washes.
  • Angled – this brush is like a flat brush only angled. That small point is great for detailing and getting into corners.
  • Rigger or Script – the much longer hair on this brush is used for painting lines, squiggles and adds a nice finishing touch.
  • Mop – this is a generous brush used to lay down washes and big swaths of color. Shown upper right.
  • Fan – shown lower right this is a ‘modified’ fan brush done by clipping the hairs with scissors. Cutting the uneven edge on the fan shape creates a wonderful brush for making splatters and uneven stippling (especially useful in paining birds and nature).
  • Specialty travel – Shown below are two types of travel brushes. The bluish ‘aqua/water brush’ has a built in water reservoir and comes in a variety if brush sizes. I like this brush for urban sketching or when minimal supplies are allowed – we were able to use this in a museum, and it fits in a tiny purse when checked bags are required. The 2 Da Vinci brushes are intended for travel. This type of travel brush is a solution to having an elegant brush in your travel pouch. The brush is 2 part, the black plastic body unscrews to expose the brush and when closed protects the brush, there is even a tiny hole on the bottom to allow the hair to dry!

Our color – Phthalo blue is an organic blue developed by chemists under the trade name “monastral blue”. The color was presented as a pigment in London in November 1935. At the time, it was claimed to be the most important blue discovery since Prussian blue in 1704 and artificial ultramarine in 1824 – and many even argued that it was a superior pigment to both.

In a watercolor palette today you can typically find a Phthalo Blue. Daniel Smith Phthalo Blue (green shade) is the color used in this post. Defined as color for cool, clean staining shadows and reflected light on windows. Winsor Newton defines their Phthalo as a deep intense blue. M Graham is defined as a brilliant green shade blue. Vibrant and very strong. As a note, M Graham paints are made with pure honey and do not dry up!

Here are works from prior posts that use a variety of brushes:

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