This is going to be the last major materials post (until I think of more stuff!) before we get into painting.
I'm going to keep this short.
Experiment and use what works. No, I'm not being lazy...it's just that whether you use a filbert or a flat (at this point) isn't going to make an immense difference. Here are a few brush thing to keep in mind:
1. Have a decent range of sizes. For our work, you can get away with (at minimum) 3 to 5 brushes. I have no idea what brush sizes mean (can't remember, actually), but have at least a small/med/large set. Small is, say, a round, flat, or filbert about 1/4" wide. Med: flat or filbert 1/2 to 3/4". Large: flat or filbert 3/4 to 1".
2. You don't hafta spend a fortune on brushes. As a matter of fact, many of my brushes are just amateur-grade cheapies like $5/pack Loew Cornell assortments in the card pack. I am a big scumbler/scrubber/washer, so I'm *really* hard on my brushes. Cheap brushes keep you free to experiment. I keep a couple of nice sables around for glazing, or if I'm feeling expensive(!).
Hog's hair can be very useful and durable, and I have a bunch of those. They're also scratchy and pretty inflexible. Also, the very small ones just seem weird to me. Synthetics are just fine.
3. Save all of your old brushes. Even the fucked up, comma-shaped ones you left standing on their bristles and never cleaned. You never know when they can come in handy.
Often, you'll want to add something to your paint to make it flow-ier or faster drying. Or you want to glaze. Sometimes it's useful to use medium as a retouch-varnishy thing: afer a week or two of drying (on thinnish paint layers) a little medium applied to the surface (and allowed to get tacky for 20 min to an hour) is nice to paint into. It's sticky, and blending/feathering is aided by that slowness/tackiness of surface.
My short list:
1. Turp, obviously. Odorless Turpenoid is expensive, but it beats breathing Gum Turp vapors. But, yeah...I'm a total, full-experience, old school, 5-senses Painter, so I keep a couple of ounces of gum turp in a bottle so everything smells good without choking me. That's what cigs are for.
2. Liquin (Winsor & Newton): My favorite & go-to Medium. Good for everything, thinning, flowing, glazing, and faster-drying. Smells dynamite; great for huffing.
3. Sun-thickened Stand Oil. Basically gooey linseed oil. Can be used alone or with some turp added to loosen it up to taste.
4. Dorland's Wax Medium. Waxy, like it says. About the consistency of butter. Useful for impasto painting. In reasonable amounts, it extends the paint and makes it buttery-feeling and good for impasto. Slightly matte and it (naturally) dilutes the pigment depending on how much you add.
5. Salamander, other drying agents. I'd avoid these unless you're willing to experiment and find your own, rare, specialized uses. Yep--they dry paint super-fast, but they really degrade the paint integrity.
6. A note on "miracle" mediums. Anyone acting superior and self-consciously Old Skool and claiming to have the Secret Recipe that the Old Masters used has misplaced their priorities. If you dig Maroger medium, and it works for you...great. That's the reward. (I've seen more Maroger Snobs do more shite paintings. File with: "I grind my own paint" snobs. Results are impressive, not materials.)
And that wraps up materials for now.
Painting and Seeing next!