Pro Arte Mastertouch Brushes
Pro Arte offers a fantastic range of brushes in a variety of sizes and types for all your favourite media. Wendy Jelbert puts its Mastertouch brushes through their paces.
'Pro Arte’s Mastertouch, with its sets of filbert, flat and Round heads, maintains the high standard demanded by today’s painters, and manages to keep the prices extremely reasonable,' says Wendy Jelbert.
'The range comprises two types of brushes: Aquamarine for water-soluble media, and Reflex for oil and acrylics. Each variety comes in a wide range of sizes.
'Most painters settle on a favourite shape and stick to it, but these sets offer you an affordable opportunity to try other shapes, encouraging you into different ways of applying your paint and adding something new to your work.
'I definitely like the choice of sizes in each variety. After experimenting with the sets, I can say with confidence that Mastertouch is up to the job and excellent value for money.'
The Aquamarine features a deep turquoise handle and sandy-coloured synthetic soft bristles with a dark brown tip. The brushes are responsive and hold a good store of water. The three main shapes in a selection of sizes (filbert and flat have five sizes; Rounds have seven) are ideal for washes in watercolour, ink, gouache and acrylic (when used in the watercolour style), and form ideal points for detailed work. There’s something for everyone here. All the brushes performed well, and the paint flowed in a fluid and controlled way. I experimented with each, trying sideways strokes, twisting and turning the brushes to form thick and thin lines, and tried the splattered method (see above). Some more expensive brushes don’t work as well!
Flowered Landscape, watercolour, (26.5x34.5)
Reflex brushes, with their longer turquoise handles and the same three shapes, are harder, more robust and made from a stronger Taklon off-white fibre, the colour of natural bristle.
They are synthetic and bouncy to take the weight of a heavier oil or thick acrylic paint. There are choices to suit most requirements: the filberts and flats have six sizes per set and the Rounds have seven.
Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the way each type kept its shape, held the paint and performed the many swirls, twists and turns I took them through, resulting in their individual characteristic markings.
They stained slightly, but this is to be expected when using strong colours (even expensive brushes do this). A good scrub using washing-up liquid freed most of the colour residue.
Farmhouse Garden Path, acrylic, (28x38cm)
To paint Farmhouse Garden Path (above) I used all three types of brushes, which helped give an exciting textural surface to the whole scene.
Flats were excellent for the stabbing and broken edges and spikey foliage, the roof tiles and edging to the windows and door details.
Rounds worked well for blocking in the middle ground, the garden plant shapes and path textures, including the splattering effect.
Filberts were ideal for the curved and circular movements needed on the softer edges for the remaining foliage and flowers. I love using thick, delicious acrylics that build up with each brushstroke!
Snowfall, acrylic, (30x25.5cm)
To paint Snowfall (above), I covered the canvas with a contrasting under-colour.
Here I started with ochre, and tried out the set of Round brushes, leaving touches of the original colour glimpsing through. This highlights the brushwork well, and shows up with No. 14 for the smoother rendering of the sky and first strokes of the foreground.
The No. 10 was used for the thicker tree trunk, parts of the building and middle distance trees.
Thicker paint, applied with Nos. 4 and 2, was used for the branches, figure and fence.
Finally, the foreground was treated with a layer of thick freer strokes from the No. 10 to give a feeling of the spongy blanket of snow.