Our attention was caught by Alexander Otis’s review of a Da Vinci watercolour brush on jacksonsart.com saying that it ‘is a versatile, well made watercolor brush great for traveling or everyday use.’ We asked him to explain further why he prefers this Da Vinci Maestro brush over other brands brushes.
Review of a Da Vinci Maestro Travel Brush
The Da Vinci Maestro Pocket Brush series 1503 size 8 works well as a travel companion due to its versatility, compact size when stored, and sturdy, screw-down case; lending itself well to quick sketches, thought out studies, and onsite finished work.
Useful Inbuilt Sturdy Lid
The pure Kolinsky sable stores securely into the black, plastic casing thanks to the tight screw-down design and, should the brush fall from your pocket or bag, the sable hairs are well protected due to the sturdy, thick plastic of which the case/handle is made.
When the brush is unsheathed for painting, the screw-down design keeps the whole brush taut and responsive; something refreshing when compared to the traditional design of pocket brushes that are held in place by friction, resulting at times, from my experience, with the belly and ferrule on the ground and the case/handle in my hand.
When sheathing the brush, it is important to wet the hairs first, keeping them at a point, to avoid bending the hairs against the thick casing. It is then even more important when you get home, to take the brush from your pocket or bag, clean it, and let it dry unsheathed so as to avoid mould growth. With the proper care, and due to its hardy, compact construction, the 1503 size 8’s long and full belly will last years.
Size of Head and Fullness of Body
Compared to other brushes labelled size 8, the Da Vinci is larger. It’s hairs, when dry and fluffy, appear longer, its belly appears fuller.
As you can see in the picture, the Da Vinci appears fuller than the Escoda Reserva size 10, although the specified brush diameter of the Da Vinci is 5.3mm and the Esocda is 5.7mm. Whereas, the Escoda Reserva brushes lend themselves well to detail work due to their fine tip, the Da Vinci 1503 retains more water and releases the water more evenly, allowing fewer trips to pan and dish, making this brush efficient for when one needs to catch the moment before the subject of a portrait suddenly gets tired or the light of a landscape changes.
Absorbancy and Fine Mark Making Capacity
Due to its ability to hold a significant amount of water for its size, the 1503 size 8 allows for creating washes on paper sizes similar to A4, and, after a dip into a water dish, a quick flick of the brush results in a pen-like tip.For finer details, such as stray hairs on a head or thin tree branches, the brush can be dabbed on a towel, shaped with the fingers, and dipped in a concentrated colour to get even more control and line variety. Due to the size of the bristles, the size 8 works best with full sized pans.
Why You’d Choose a Da Vinci Maestro Brush
The perfect brush does not exist, but there is, as dictated by the circumstances, the right brush for the job. Due to its versatility, its ability to hold copious amounts of water for its size, the hairs’ malleability to my needs, and it’s compact and sturdy design, the Da Vinci 1503 size 8 is my choice for sketches, studies, and travel.
About Alexander Otis‘Through careful, deliberate, consistent practice and study, I aim for each individual work to be a coherent cluster of real, concrete things that come together to create something that is not wholly refined though wholly realized, a work that does not hide how it was made or of what it is made. I want to create things in which the designation “picture” takes second place to line, colour, shape, form, and medium (materials) as carriers of significance within our perceptual world. With this in mind, I take the human figure and portraiture as a starting point, a sort of anchor, that allows the observer and me a place of reference from which we can be drawn into a larger dialectic.
The majority of my work is done from life or imagination.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma; I currently reside in Central Pennsylvania.’
You can view more of Alexander Otis’s work here.
You can view our range of Da Vinci Brushes here, Escoda brushes here and Rosemary Brushes here.
Calling all artists to share their views!
We would like to encourage you to write a review on our website of any products that you have used. Simply navigate to the product you wish to review and click on the ‘Reviews’ button beneath the product image. Be thoughtful and detailed – think about what information will be useful to others.
Each month we will be selecting several well-written examples which will be published on our blog. The writer of the best review will receive a £25 Jackson’s gift voucher plus a photograph of them in their studio (if they wish) and a link to their website will appear alongside their review.