by Deb Shaw

From top to bottom: Rosemary and Company, Series 33 Kolinsky Sable brush, #4; Escoda Reserva Kolinsky Sable Brush, #2; Winsor & Newton, Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brush, #1. Photo by Deb Shaw.

From top to bottom: Rosemary and Company, Series 33 Kolinsky Sable brush, #4; Escoda Reserva Kolinsky Sable Brush, #2; Winsor & Newton, Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brush, #1. Photo by Deb Shaw.

I’ve been hearing rumors for the last couple of weeks that US Customs has released the Kolinsky brushes that have been locked away during the ban. I now have confirmation (sort of): the brushes that have been held have been released, but the ban is still in effect for future shipments. So, for art stores, it looks like there is a little relief on their long list of back orders, but no significant headway for future shipments.

Here’s what this means for us artists who want to order/buy Kolinsky brushes:

  1. Check your local and online art supply stores. You may find most standard watercolor brushes are now in stock, but not all brands. For example, Nate, from Dick Blick confirmed that Dick Blick now has the Winsor Newton Series 7 line (except for a couple of sizes, namely #10) in stock, as well as the Winsor Newton Series 7 Miniatures (except for #5). They do not, however, have the Rafael 8404 and 8408 in stock. [NOTE: If you are purchasing anything from Dick Blick, click on the Dick Blick website FROM the ASBA website. The ASBA gets credit and donation support from Dick Blick.]
  2. You can still purchase Kolinsky brushes online from select vendors in the UK and elsewhere, including Rosemary and Company, L. Cornelissen & Son, and Ken Bromley Art Supplies.

Calling All Brush Reviews

I’ve received a lot of enthusiastic reviews of different brushes that fellow artists have been trying out, including other sables, synthetics, you-name-it. Some have been in direct conflict (“love it” vs. “hate it”) Obviously, how we each use a brush determines how we feel about a particular brand and style.

I’d love to publish a synopsis of all our testing on watercolor brushes (with full credit of course). If you would like to participate, please email me, and be sure to include the following information:

  • The name, product number, size(s) and where you purchased the brushes you are reviewing;
  • What substrate you paint on: paper (brand name please), vellum, board, etc.;
  • How you paint (wet washes, dry brush, etc.);
  • Any other helpful information;
  • How you want your name listed.

I’ll compile the information and publish the results (provided I get enough information) in early December.

Happy painting!

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