Painting, Reviews and Tests

Princeton Neptune synthetic squirrel – Brush review

blogneptunereview

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.

I also made a video of the testing. It shows me painting a quince with the Neptune, demonstrating wet-in-wet and dry brush techniques.

Link to the video on my YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/lt6MNAcZ_oY

For a link to the brush on the Jackson’s website, click here.

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 2019, you can get 25% off all synthetic brushes at Jackson’s, using the code VEGAN25. Please click here for the link.

Happy painting!

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