Trekell’s Artist of the Month

I am incredibly honored to be featured on Trekell and Company’s website as their February Artist of the Month. Not only does the Trekell team make extraordinary tools, they are also very supportive of their artists.

When it comes to paint brushes Trekell is one of the best in the business (rivaling Rosemary & Co but recently I’ve been preferring Trekell).

Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Hog Bristle Long Filberts – I begin every painting with one of these bad boys. I don’t know why but it seems most artists tend to reach for the smallest brush in their conglomeration of tools. I start with a size 6 and try to hold onto it for as long as I can before relinquishing it to a smaller brush for detail work. The longer handle makes it more comfortable to step back and block in the overall shapes and check for proportional issues.

Legion Long Flats – I’ve almost exclusively used *filberts and only started using these *flats in the last couple of months. These brushes are so pretty. And even though Trekell claims they’re synthetic I truly believe they are made from unicorn hair. These brushes are so versatile I’ve completed full paintings with just one or two sizes. They are ideal for covering large areas.

William Whitaker Signature Series – Designed by the master himself. The long handles are slightly contoured for a comfortable fit and perfect for detail work and blending.

Kolinsky Rounds – Like the signature series I also use these for detail work and blending. The handle is short so it issues a lot more control. Be sure to use a mahl stick though or your arm and wrist will hate you later. These are also perfect for signing your signature.

Trekell also announced they will be selling Bill’s own palette designs which you can find here and here. I’ve used both and they are extremely comfortable and lightweight. I use Style 1 more frequently but if you have a lot of colors and do lots of mixing I’d go with Style 2. Trekell shows you how to hold them properly and I appreciate that they have kept the lefties in mind during the design phase (It’s not as easy as just flipping the palette over to fit your right hand if you paint with your left…all of the edges are beveled for a smooth contoured fit so the edges would be backwards and poke and cut in all the wrong places, like wearing a left shoe on your right foot). The palettes come unprimed so they can be stained or painted to suit your individual style.

Now, for those followers who nodded off during the boring painting and tools and stuff speech, here’s a work in progress of a good looking guy.

*Each of the different shapes of paint brush bristles (say that three times really fast) have a name:

  • Flat – square end, medium to long bristles
  • Filbert – similar to the flat but with soft rounded bristles
  • Round – rounded or pointed tip
  • Fan – I’ll leave this one to your imagination

How to Care for Your Brushes


It was super fun today to pay my daily visit to James Gurney’s blog and see Bill featured in a demonstration on how to wash oil painting brushes. I’ve tried almost every solution and soap on the market and, in all honesty, the most efficient and cost effective brush cleaner I have found is plain ol’ liquid dish washing soap. I prefer Dawn, and appreciate that it is also non toxic. It has also been a life saver getting oil stains out of clothes!

I definitely agree with Bill on conditioning brushes after cleaning them. Not only does it significantly increase the life of your brushes, but it retains the quality of the brush especially if you’re hard on them, like me. And again, no special brush potion is required. Bill has shown me regular hair conditioner works just as well!

The above video was created by Trekell, a wonderful brush making company based in California.