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Art Masterclass - 80


May 2013


A Modified BrushFrom The Leisure Painter, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;




Invaluable advice to help you keep painting despite the difficulties

Sharon Douglas

I have loved drawing and painting all of my life. As soon as I was able to grip a pencil, all I ever wanted to do was draw.

Throughout my teens, I suffered severe back problems, which left me bed bound or in hospital for much of the time. At 30 I developed cancer, from which I recovered, and have since been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which means some days I’m in bed and others in a wheelchair. Through it all, drawing and painting have been my therapy.

Over the years I have made alterations to my equipment and working methods, and through trial and error, my husband and I have devised aids to help me to paint more freely. My aim here is to help other painters, who may find it difficult to keep up with this most therapeutic and enjoyable of hobbies.

Brush modifications
Let’s start with how to modify paintbrushes (see images below).

  1. My husband drilled small holes of varying sizes through a tennis ball, which I now thread my brushes through. This gives me a larger area to grip. The different sized holes mean that I can use different sized brushes.
  2. Here I wrapped Blu-tack around the ferrule of a brush (although usually I’d use a larger ball of Blutack). One problem with using a larger ball is the weight, but the fact that you can mould it to the shape of your grip means that it is very comfortable to work with, especially if you have arthritis.
  3. My husband took a wide felt-tipped pen apart, removed the nib and drilled a hole in the end of the tube. He then threaded a paintbrush through it. Because the pen is wider than a normal paintbrush, it is easier to grip.
  4. My occupational therapist gave me a long piece of foam tubing, to cut to size and put around the handles of cutlery. This is great for putting around brush handles. I also tied a very large elastic band around the handle, which I place around my wrist so that I don’t drop my brush.
  5. You can buy this sort of tubing from hardware shops for about 79p per metre.

Secure grip
A twist tie is wrapped around my brush then the remainder is wrapped around my wrist so I can’t drop it (above). Twist ties are found in the DIY sections of most ‘pound shops’. You can buy shorter ones for curling your hair, but they are much shorter. They’re fine if you just need to wrap them around a pencil or brush, but if you need the wrist holder type, you will need the longer twist ties.

Aids to help you grip your brushes

    Brush Modifications

  1. Tennis ball
  2. Blu-Tack
  3. Felt-tip pen casing
  4. Foam tube
  5. Foam tube is available from hardware shops

And using a twist tie to secure the brush to the wrist.

Sharon shares much more useful advice, based on experience, in her full article which you can find in the May 2013 issue of Leisure Painter



This feature was taken from The Leisure Painter, subscription information can be found here.



The Leisure Painter



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