There are a lot of different kinds of brushes. You can see an excellent list of brushes and their uses on Bill Martin’s site here. And I agree with his first paragraph that states that good brushes make good paintings, but I only agree to a certain extent. While you can argue the quality of my paintings all you want, and you can compare mine to his and say a million times over that his are far better than mine, what neither one of us will accept is this idea that his would be better than mine because of the brushes. If his are better (his works on paper are quite nice) then it’s because he’s a better painter. No one beyond Mars Blackmon ever said Michael Jordan was a better basketball player because of the shoes.
He has a point because good brushes do perform well. If you learn to paint with good brushes then you’ll produce paintings with those brushes. They load differently, they apply differently, and keep their shape better than cheaper brushes. But that’s it. Many people reading this will probably think,”whoa, that’s it
?” Yes, that’s it. Whether or not this makes a difference to you is up to you. I say this because I’m poor and can’t afford high-quality brushes. My brushes get beat up. I use them hard and I clean them hard, and I do have to buy new brushes on occasion. But I’ve learned to paint this way. Again, you can argue the quality of my paintings all you want, but you can’t argue that I haven’t learned to do things with my brushes.
So what’s my advice? Buy brushes that you can use. If that means spending a lot of money on a high-quality brush because you need a specific type of performance, then go buy it. If that means you can make do with other brushes, then do that, too. It’s what I do. I have a lot to learn, and I still have a lot of room to improve, but I don’t need to spend a lot of money to do this.
This is different from paint, btw. I almost exclusively use Schmincke Mussini paints. This is because paint does actually look differently. In
my opinion it’s important to use high-quality finished products such as canvas and paint. It’s the tools that one uses to create these finished products that are up for debate.