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painting the figure


module 1: supplies

g: clean-up

a. Clean-up Procedure

i. Method for cleaning brushes

I want to share with you my method of cleaning my brushes that I do after every session. Sometimes I'll just get lazy or not get around to it, so my brushes might get more dirty than then I want them to and the paint dries on the brush. Fortunately I have a secret weapon: Winsor Newton brush cleaner and restorer. It doesn't have too much of a odor to it. It's not like acetone or anything like that, but soaking it will actually undo some of the dried paint from your brushes. It will work with pretty much any medium. You can use it for oil paint and acrylic, but since I am mainly an oil painter it's a godsend for me.

Step 1: I will pre-rinse in some solvent to get some of the excess off before I put it into the brush cleaner. I have a jar with some fencing wire inside of it that I'm using as a grate. I have enough of the brush cleaner to go up to the level of the grate. I'll get as much of it off as I can just by swishing it in the brush cleaner.

I wipe it off with my rag and it's already pretty clean. However, if I were to leave it this way the brush would lose its conditioning so what you have to do to get it feeling like new is to get some soap. I recommend Trekell or Jack richeson linseed oil soap. Pre-rinse it with a little bit of water to activate the soap a bit. Get enough of of it onto the brush. Take your palm(preferably a gloved palm)and start to work it into your palm. Get it to where there's a lather. As it starts to lather you'll see it start to work some of that paint out of bristles. If you need to, you can get some out of paint off of the brush.

This is my method for cleaning out my brushes. Done properly, my brushes last years because I do this. If you have enough discipline to do it after every painting session, you will keep your brushes feeling good for a long time. So you just keep repeating this process until you don't see the discoloration of the paint anymore and the lather becomes white. The last thing I need to do to get the stuff near the ferrule out. First you get the lather going. Then you pinch the end, then you gently twist. What that does is activates all the paint near the handle. Do that enough, and it'll loosen up paint that gets stuck near the ferrule. Pinch and roll. Just keep doing this as long as you need to. Be a little gentle so that you don't loosen up the glue that's keeping the hairs in the ferrule.

As long as you remember to do this before you put all your stuff away, the process really shouldn't take too long. If you use a lot of brushes or a lot of big brushes it might take a while, but unfortunately, it's a necessary step. It's a chore, but would you rather buy new brushes every time, or take about a half hour to keep your brushes in good shape? That is my tutorial on how to clean my brushes.

OPTIONAL: Trekell brush restorer.

It helps the brush hold its shape. Just dip it in the solution, shape it and let it dry. By the time you're ready for the next session, it feels like new. It has its shape just like how you bought it. So it also smells great to so. That's just an extra little step that's completely optional but you have a nice, feels-like-new brush when you've gone through this step.

ii. Method for cleaning skin

I recommend a pumice lotion degreaser by Fast Orange or Gojo. Rub it into your hands like you’re using hand soap, and you will start to see the paint loosen from your skin. You can then clean your hands off with a rag, and if possible wash off the excess with soap and water. I would recommend moisturizing your hands afterwards, since this will also remove your natural skin oils and you will want to replenish them.