Soul Collector | Watercolour Painting

Testing New Brushes

I’ve been meaning to get some new watercolour brushes, as the ones I’ve been using (although having served well for years) are fraying and/or have rogue hairs going in one direction. Debating on whether or not to invest in squirrel-hair brushes, I decided it wouldn’t really serve me any purpose as I like painting in a particular way; and perhaps even more impractical for those who use hot-press paper. There are definitely a wide range of brushes out there and admittedly quite overwhelming, but after watching some reviews by other artists on Youtube I settled for trying out the Princeton Neptune range. I went for the Round Synthetic Squirrel in 0, 6, & 12 (as they are the sizes I use the most) of the 4750 Series. I’ll provide links below of where I got mine, even though this is not sponsored, and I’ll be sure to provide updates on how they fare with more use. I’m loving them so far, as the handles in particular feel more comfortable than my standard ones from the art stores here like Deserres or Curry’s. If any of you have used brushes from this brand please share your experiences in the comments, or even what your favourite brushes are; I’m sure we could all glean something useful from it. In the meantime I’ll be continuing using these new brushes as I’ve done for this latest piece, and will be retiring my older brushes for inks and acrylic washes.

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 0

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 6

Princeton Artist Brush | Neptune Series 4750 | Round Synthetic Squirrel, Size 12

The Prelim.

As usual I started out with my drawing on tracing paper, eventually transferring the finished product with a graphite backing and tracing all the lines and details. I was sharing this thought on Instagram as well but, does anyone else hate ‘transfer’ days as much as I do?! Recently I’ve been laying some scrap paper as masking (as you see on the right side), just so I have less graphite residue to erase off of my watercolour paper when I’m done transferring.


The finished drawing ready for transfer.

There’s no better feeling than finally getting to put pigment to paper.

You always feel ambitious with the thought of filling a piece with knotwork, until the realization sets in of having to trace said knotwork for a second time accurately. I cheated a bit with this piece as you’ll notice with my preliminary drawing as I drew in only one side; the other side was cheekily transferred by doing a mirror/flip transfer of the paper. I also decided to incorporate some cute little Robins as well; going on themes of death and souls for this painting. You might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, and rightfully so. I often tend to come by weird articles and stories (go figure), and a few that have interested me are of Robins visiting people in grieve and mourning. One in particular was that of a woman grieving the death of her child at his grave and a robin flying and landing on her. I hadn’t known of the bird’s connection in folklore and symbolism surrounding death. Truly fascinating.

Soul Collector, watercolours, 8.5×11″, 2021

4 thoughts on “Soul Collector | Watercolour Painting

  1. Ah, one of my favourite topics! I’ve seen quite a lot of positive reviews of Princeton brushes but haven’t ever used any. I already have too many brushes and am trying to restrict the number that I use a little. I usually use a combination of brushes including the Alvaro Castagnet Squirrel hair Neef mop brushes, the Escoda squirrel hair mottler brush (which I use for my first wash), Da Vinci squirrel hair mop brushes, and the Joseph Zbukvic Escoda synthetic brushes for more detailed elements. Maybe I need to try out the Princeton ones to expand my collection even further!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh I haven’t heard of the other brands except for Da Vinci (which is definitely on my list to try), so I’ll be sure to check them out. I love how artists use mop brushes and squirrel hair brushes, but I’m assuming they’re using cold-press paper. I don’t see my hot press paper holding up to lots of washes. Thanks for sharing John!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, you’re right, I expect the paper you’re using will make a significant difference – I only use 300gsm rough paper so it probably behaves very differently to what you’re using.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I was using cold press before but was having trouble transferring my work digitally. I’d switched to Fabriano’s hot press line; I believe it’s 300gsm as well, holds up to a fair amount of washes anyways. I definitely miss the texture of cold press paper though (and the amount of layers possible). XD

        Liked by 1 person

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