Saturday 11 June 2016


A little break before I upload the next instalment of my stamping paper product comparison - a mini-haul!

I actually went to Hobbycraft in search of some velum or some 12 × 12" decorative paper that I could use to make some custom envelopes for forthcoming birthday cards and gifts for friends. I ended up discovering some great deals on brushes from Daler and Rowney! I don't normally buy 'good' acrylic brushes as they end up knackered, but they had some CRYLA (the professional brushes) for less than half price, and, due to a pricing error on the till, I saved a lot more! Love it when shops make mistakes in the customers' favour - were it a tiny art shop, I'd've gone back and told them, but I don't feel anything towards the big chains tbh.

CRYLA brushes are a very stiff synthetic brush suited to heavy-body acrylics in particular, that are designed to look like a faux natural fibre - no idea why, that makes ZERO difference to performance and who honestly cares what colour the fibres are when they're covered in paint most of the time?! Weird...

DALON brushes are a soft, thirsty synthetic brush designed as a mimic sable, with each fibre having a pointed tip, so that they are like hairs. This makes them look darker at the ends.

I got the following - I've linked to Amazon UK for them as Hobbycraft don't sell them online - note Amazon currently have a sale on too - the prices are at the time of writing! 
CRYLA Size 4 Fan Blender  - RRP normally £7.75 - Amazon presently £6.21.
CRYLA 1/2" Flat Glaze  - RRP normally £15.75 - Amazon presently £11.93.
DALON Size 9 Round - RRP normally £9.75.
DALON Size 12 Round - RRP normally £14.00

CRYLA Size 4 Fan Blender and 1/2" Flat Glaze. DALON Size 9 and Size 12 Rounds.

I have not used CRYLA or DALON brushes before, so I'm excited to be trying these out and comparing them with other brushes I do commonly use.

I also picked up a  Cotman Sketcher's Set for £8.00 - it's normally £16.00 in there and £18.75 on Amazon - but the good news is they have it down to £7.79 at the moment too! I don't use student-grade watercolour as a rule, but I needed an en plein air solution for this summer and time is ticking. I was going to buy one of the W&N Artist Grade pan sets and fill it with my 24 main colours by buying empty half-pans and pouring my own using the tubes I already have...but the more I thought about it, what I really wanted to do was to keep the set on me at all times in my work-bag with a bottle of water and my sketchbook and I just couldn't see myself painting regularly en plein air if the paints were expensive. I also was realistic with myself - I don't have the time to sit around outside painting beautiful paintings! What I need to do is to sketch outside and then do bigger paintings with artist-grade paints back in my studio where I can do a better job of it. As such, my en plein air set didn't need to be fancy and a Cotman set would suffice!

This set contains Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow (Hue), Alizarin Crimon (Hue), Cadmium Red, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine, Viridian (Hue), Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Chinese White. I'm going to add some more colours and remove some - like the bloody pointless white (I HATE white in sets!) - to get it down to 4 versions of each Yellow, Red and Blue - a warm, cool, neutral and earth. No need for the greens as I can just mix them myself. Looking forward to trying it out next week, though, with the colours I have at present!

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