Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Cat's Tongue

     Today’s post isn’t long, but for the watercolor painters who don’t know about this brush, it will be a major score.  The Cat’s Tongue refers to a style of brush.  Its shape resembles a cat’s tongue (obviously!) and the name stuck.  This brush can be seen in most watercolor and oil painters’ war chest.
      I know the famous portrait artist; John Howard Sanden (he has painted the official portrait of President George W. Bush, and Reverend Billy Graham, among others) uses it in his oil paintings, and even puts it on his brush selection list for new artists.
     My old stand-by brush company, Silver, makes a ¾” cat’s tongue that never leaves my painting table.  Why is this brush so important?  Several reasons.  First, it carries a lot of water; when fully charged, you can cover some ground (actually, paper) and never have to reload.
Reverend Billy Graham
by John Howard Sanden
     Secondly, the shape of the brush allows you to move from a broad wash stroke to a detail-pointed stroke without stopping.  This comes in handy for backgrounds or broad areas in which you must paint around objects.     The Silver Brush Company’s website, interestingly enough, doesn’t call this brush a cat’s tongue.  They specify the 3009S as an “Oval”, so if you decide to pursue the purchase of this brush, keep that in mind. 
     Also, check out John Sanden’s website, www.theportraitinstitute.com.  He offers smaller cat’s tongue sables that could be a nice addition to your brush arsenal.  It’s featured in the Starter Sable Selection under the Brushes tab.  You can’t go wrong with this valuable little brush!

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