In my defence, it’s been ages since I bought a new brush. This still doesn’t mean that I actually needed this latest purchase, but I’m delighted to have been able to add it to my collection.

This arrived last week, just as I had to make another mad dash north to be with my mum who had taken a turn for the worse. (Regular readers may recall that she was taken to hospital a fortnight or so ago.)

As I packed, I threw together some painting materials and a couple of books, not really knowing how long I would be away for. There was something about the arrival of the new brush that made me think of John Yardley, so one of the books I brought with me is ‘John Yardley, A personal view’.

My latest treat, a Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable No 12
A beautiful shape with a fabulously precise point!

As I understand it, John Yardley’s preferred brushes are the acclaimed Winsor and Newton 7 Series. I like to think that this latest Da Vinci Maestro brush is not dissimilar in quality, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford to purchase this new had it not come up for sale on a certain online auction site!

Back in 2015 I had the pleasure of seeing John Yardley paint at the Mall Galleries. The brush, my book, my memory of seeing him paint all led to me tackling one of his interior scenes. I think at the back of my mind was also the sense that I may need to be looking for more domestic/interior scenes of my own as the restrictions on our movements continue to tighten.

Here’s my take on his painting ‘The Green Sofa’:

The green sofa, after John Yardley

I tried to paint this in a similar way to how I saw him paint at the Mall Galleries. Trying not overlay washes, to paint deliberately and to make each brushstroke the final brushstroke. As you can see this worked out better in some places than in others.

On the right hand side of the painting, there was what looked like a screen and chair and a number of other items that I completely failed at interpreting… so I thought I’d just completely get shot of them!

And cropped

I quite like this cropped version and, painting this was a good exercise and a great way of making friends with my new brush – I think we’re going to be very happy together!

After painting in someone else’s style, I felt the need to reconnect with my own style! Here’s a quick study based on some photos and previous sketches that I have done from Brighton Marina. Again, this was mainly done with the new brush.

A quiet end to day, Brighton Marina

Delighted to be able to report that since coming north, my mum seems to have stabilised and is a little more comfortable. Visiting hours are currently restricted to one hour a day, and one person per visit, so I’m sharing visits with a brother who made it over from Spain just prior to the travel ban while another brother is in France and unable to get here. All being well, I’ll return to Brighton sometime this week and I’ll definitely need to be back there before any stricter measures come into place!

Haha – well it serves me right for starting this post a few days ago! The unfolding pace of events is almost too much to keep up with. After the government’s announcement it was restricting movements on Monday evening, I decided that I should return to Brighton as soon as possible – even though it was a tremendous wrench to leave the north without being able to see mum again before departing.

It’s likely they’ll cancel all hospital visits in the next day so hopefully I’ll be able to be of more use to my family in the south than my family in the north!

I hope that everyone else is managing to stay safe and well.

16 thoughts on “A new watercolour brush!

  1. Super artwork. I especially love the marina painting. (BTW I bought the same brush in a slightly smaller size last year. It was my first expensive brush. It’s been briliant – nearly always the first I pick up once the big washes are finished.

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    1. Thanks so much Jo for the comments about the paintings – much appreciated! Delighted too that you’re happy with your Da Vinci brush! I’m really enjoying mine too and only wish I could afford to buy more of them! 😄

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  2. I take the opposite approach with brushes, John – you’d expect nothing less of me – in that I have a jar full of 2 or 3 sizes of Chinese/Korean calligraphy/painting brushes. When I’m painting, I usually have three or four smalish ones lying around with different colours on them so that I don’t have to keep washing them out. If there’s a panic, I can just grab another fresh brush from the jar and use that. I’d be terrified to have a Rolls-Royce of brushes in case I lost it or, worse still, it started losing hairs! You’re obviously made of tougher stuff. It hasn’t done your painting any harm; these two are excellent. The Yardley looks like a Yardley; (I sometimes wonder what he does with himself if the sun isn’t shining!) The marina is recognisably by John Haywood and glows with colour and light. Some lovely colour combinations and a very striking image; I’d buy it if I could afford your prices. I’ll just have to make do with another bamboo brush instead.

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    1. Thanks so much Rob! Really appreciate (and quite surprised by) your comments on the paintings! I might need to get some advice from you on the calligraphy brushes. I’ve often looked at them but have usually become a little bamboozled by the squirrel/goat/horse hair variations! I’d welcome any tips you have. I was looking at a mixed collection of brushes in a set from Jackson’s Art Supplies a while ago but got cold feet before pressing the ‘buy’ button!

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      1. I’m afraid I don’t know much about my brushes (except that they cost between £3 and £5 depending on size). I buy them from a jar in Tindalls – the local Cambridge art materials shop – and it doesn’t say what they are. I would attach a picture but I don’t seem to be able to paste into this box. I’ll send you an email and attach the picture.

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  3. A dreary one here in St. Louis in the USA, but at least will be a warmer one though the Pollen has started so with my allergies and respiratory issued I stay inside mostly.. At least I am used to spending a lot of time alone so our quaranteens aren’t effecting me as much as many. I’ve now been guaranteed for nearly 2 weeks and am ordered by my doctor to stay that way for awhile yet. No one comes near me but can go for a ride at least. The idea is to keep our case number and deaths as low as possible. Unfortunately there are many who think the rules don’t apply to them, like the usual swarms of college kids who swarmed to the beaches in Florida for Spring Break, causing cities to close all public beaches! My daughter arrived back here from her condo in palm Beach on Sunday. These quarantines are issued by states since there’s a vast difference between NYC and the vast farming states of the Midwest.
    I am getting painting done almost every day but took a break yesterday when I started an exciting mystery!
    I liked your latest “Yardley’ piece after you cropped it. Before though, that yellow chair? In the corner was unfortunately the only thing you saw! And it was right in the corner! No way!
    I hope you enjoy your new brush and love what a good new one can do for the spirits! Have you tried the Rosemary & CO which are hand made in Yorkshire, Eng? They are said to be THE best! I sent for a catalogue, free and lovely, but have not yet ordered one. I couldn’t figure how much they cost the prices being in pounds!

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    1. Hi Margery and thanks for this. Your comments prove just how bad that fight hand side was! The chair was in the far corner, not the near one! That yellow was supposed to be some flowers on a small side table! Ah well, at least there were some redeeming elements elsewhere! I do have a couple of Rosemary & Co brushes but I’m mainly a fan of Escoda, Da Vinci and my Alvaro Castagnet brushes which I think are made by Neef. I doubt this will be the last ‘unnecessary’ brush purchase. Keep safe Margery!

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    1. Hi David – many thanks for this, much appreciated! I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Kent so know that there are far worse places to find yourself stuck! Personally I can’t think of Kent without thinking of Rowland Hilder! Ok, off now to check your blog! Many thanks Brian, all the best

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