My name is Kathrine Allen-Coleman, and I am a serial brush abuser. These are not the grungiest brushes I could find, these are just a few currently sitting in the water bucket. You see, if you leave brushes in water, the wooden handles swell up. This causes the varnish to chip, and the little metal band that holds the bristles in will even stretch, unually just enough to make it wobble a bit. And, if you leave the brushes in water, the bristles will also swell, and permanently bend, and split into multiple directions. I have convinced myself that this makes for a nice if not somewhat unpredicatble line.
Now if you are working with acrylic paint and you choose not to leave your brushes in water, you'll get an even more irritating alternative. A brush that has all the softness and flexibility of a stick. This is because acrylic needs to stay wet, because it dries to a nice hard plastic.
Yes I could try harder to be a good brush steward. I could run in to the house and wash my brushes every hour or so, (yeah right.) I even try really hard to make this happen, I have that little conversation in my head whenever I find a "virgin-ish" brush, especially a little tiny one that still has a point. "I will clean this, just use it for this little bit, and then clean it." Plop, into the water bucket, and I find it in a week or so. Dead as a doornail, or at least all bent to one side.
Now my husband, Scott, is a watercolor painter. And watercolorists are borderline fanatical about their brushes. They buy these $50 brushes made of very small animals, and treat them very kindly. The first time I met Scott (he was teaching a watercolor workshop in Southern France) he scolded me for leaving my brushes soaking in water beside me as I painted. I couldn't bear to tell him that not only are these brushes sitting in water, but about 6000 miles away in my studio at home, there are other brushes sitting in water too. They had developed a rather fetid odor by the time I returned home, in case you wanted that information.
There really is no point to this, no lesson to learn. I deal with this handicap by buying packs of brushes, the crappy kind. Just one step above those horrible plastic things they put in paint by numbers kits. (What kind of cosmic joke is that anyway?) And if I need a reliable little point, I look for a good one, sacrafice it to the water jug and move on.
Thanks for listening, I feel much better.