Painting, Reviews and Tests

Princeton Neptune synthetic squirrel – Brush review


I hadn’t tried any Princeton brushes before Jackson’s sent me some to test for my Veganuary blog. These Neptune series 4750 brushes are faux squirrel rather than the faux sables I usually use. On the round brushes, the varnished handle shows the wood grain, in deep mahogany tones and satin finish. The flat brushes have a handle made of “sea glass”, which for a brush called Neptune is a bit of a marketing genius kind of moment. I know it hit me just right. I loved that brush even before I tried it. It could be a mermaid’s brush, washed ashore amongst broken seashells and pebbles.

The bristles of the Neptune are softer than what I am used to. I normally don’t like my brushes to be too soft because I want them to have a good springing back action. Floppy brushes annoy me. They have to talk back to me. The Neptune is soft, but it is springier than I anticipated. While it doesn’t give me as much control as a stiffer brush would in the initial wet-in-wet stages of the painting, it is perfect for glazing. The brush floats above the paper, caressing the previous washes without disturbing them, adding a subtle glow-giving layer of colour.

ginkgosepia+wash small

This Ginkgo biloba painting was painted in only two wet-in-wet washes. I mixed 3 or 4 colours in each wash, straight on the paper, without using a mixing palette. The gentleness of the brush allowed the pigments to merge softly without creating unwanted brushmarks or lines. I like how delicate the washes look as a result.

The Neptune is now firmly installed in my brush pot. The bigger sizes will be useful for applying water to larger subjects and I will definitely use all of them for glazing. I can also rely on them when applying washes to ink work, as they are gentle enough not to mess up the line. And although I don’t currently use big flat brushes, I will just have to find a way to incorporate that mermaid brush into my routine…

Don’t forget that until the 8th of February, you can get 25% off all synthetic brushes at Jackson’s, using the code VEGAN25. Here is the link:

Happy painting!

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