A few months ago I decided to swap from tube paint to pans. I was fed up with dried up tube paint in my paintbox and re-wetting it constantly didn't seem to give the soft consistency of paint that I like, so hence the defection to pans. All was going well until I had a look at my rather expensive Da Vinci Maestro brushes. Instead of looking pointed and sleek they now seemed to be permanently having a bad hair day. I tried using the special Da Vinci soap to re-condition them and when wet, they looked marvellous. However, when they dried it was back to the ''dragged through the hedge' look. I know what has happened and it is all down to scrubbing at pans to get them workable. Oh - I know that you are supposed to use an old brush to do this and then dip into the paint with your good brush - but quite honestly who can constantly go through that process - well, I couldn't. I decided that I had ruined all my brushes (8 in total) so had better buy some new ones. Just before I decided to order new ones, I phoned Rosemary & Co, as I also have a couple of their brushes which have gone all fuzzy too, to ask their advice. I spoke to a charming man who told me exactly what to do. He had a delightful foreign accent and he advised me to wash my brushes in Pinten shampoo (I took this to mean Pantene shampoo - you could I suppose use L'Oreal 'because you're worth it' but Pinten will do for me). He then advised me to dilute some gum arabic, half and half with water, and then dip the cleaned brushes in this solution and re-shape them to a point. Apparently this is what they do with new brushes and that it why they always feel hard until you rinse them in water (you learn something new every day!). The theory is that the hairs of the brushes are held in this pointed position by the gum arabic until you need to use them and they then keep their shape. Bingo! Well, I have tried it and it seems to work. There may be a lot of old hands out there throwing up their hands at this point thinking - daft woman - didn't she know this trick. Well, I didn't so I thought I would share it with others like me who haven't yet got onto the page about brush maintenance.