Good morning! Today, I have a pair of cards for you, along with a review of some new brushes that I just purchased. If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that I mentioned purchasing some new synthetic brushes. My favorite brush line, the Black Velvet by Silver Brush Company, is made with both synthetic and squirrel hair, and while I absolutely adore the brushes themselves and the results they produce, it’s never really sat well with me that squirrels had to lose their hair for the purpose of making of my brush. 🙁 So, last week, I purchased a few of the Silverwhite Brushes from Dick Blick to test out, hoping they would be a synthetic alternative to my beloved brushes since they are made by the same company. Today, I’d like to share some initial thoughts on the brushes, as well as my final cards that I created with the watercolored pieces.
For these cards, I used what I think is one of my favorite florals from Altenew, possibly one of my favorite florals ever…. Beautiful Day. The graceful curves of the main floral image…. the perfect little sprigs of foliage…. the bunches of “filler” flowers that work so nicely to fill in the gaps… beautiful. If you only own one floral set (which would be a travesty, but to each his own), I would recommend this one, because it has so many pieces to it. Plus, you can choose to either color or multi-step stamp the main flower. Isn’t that fabulous?
Anyway, on to the cards. I stamped several of the berries, foliage, and the main flower from Beautiful Day onto some Arches Cold Press watercolor paper using Versamark ink, then heat embossed them with white embossing powder. I watercolored them using my new Silverwhite Round #4 synthetic paintbrush and my Daniel Smith watercolors, including Rose of Ultramarine for the main flower, adding in a touch of Shadow Violet to create some depth and shadows here and there. I combined Carbazole Violet with some Moonglow to create my berries, and used plain Carbazole Violet for the other pretty floral sprigs.
I die cut all of the watercolored pieces with the coordinating dies, then separated them into two groups for two separate cards. For the first card, I used just one of the blooms and some of the foliage, die cut the Pretty Frame die from Papertrey Ink from some linen card stock, and stamped this beautiful sentiment from Ellen Hutson’s Amazing Women stamp set onto some more of the same linen card stock.
For the second card, I used the same watercolored flowers, but arranged them in a large bouquet on my card front, then used the Press ‘n Seal method to pick them up and add dimensional adhesive to the back. I added only a simple die cut “congratulations” (from Papertrey Ink’s Big Basics line), which I also covered in Glossy Accents to add a bit of texture.
A simple layout, but I didn’t want to take away from those pretty blooms.
As for my initial thoughts on the synthetic Silverwhite watercolor brushes. On the whole, I found them to be very similar to the Black Velvet. Some of the things that I really liked: they come to a very fine point, so detail work is fairly simple; they seem to be very sturdy and well made; their price point is considerably lower than the Black Velvet; and (probably the most obvious pro in this list from my perspective) they’re animal friendly. There were a few significant differences between the Black Velvet and the Silverwhite Brushes. First, the synthetic bristles are a bit stiffer than the Black Velvet, which I found made the paper pill more easily when using Hot Press paper. The textured paper that I used today, however, I found to be quite forgiving and very workable with these brushes. The stiffness of the brush required some adjustments in the way I moved the bristles on the paper, as well, because I was used to the very flexible nature of the Black Velvet line, but these adjustments were quite easily managed overall. Because the bristles are white, they do stain quite easily, which may not be a cause for concern to some, but it sometimes gives me pause when I’m switching colors to wonder whether I’ve truly gotten the previous color cleaned off.
The biggest change was the amount of water they hold. I have found that, with my Black Velvet brushes, it takes only a simple dab on my wet absorber to get the excess water off of my brush, making it the perfect level of dampness to pull color out. With the Silverwhites, however, I have to dab two or three times on my wet Absorber to remove a sufficient amount of water from my brush. If I did not initially remove the water, it would release as I was working the color, which in turn created unwanted blooms that had to be siphoned off. Though it takes more time to dab the excess water from the brush on the Absorber, I found that siphoning the unwanted water/color from the paper to be more of a challenge.
On the whole, I found these brushes to be quite easy to use and was very pleased with the results that I was able to achieve. There is definitely a learning curve, but that’s to be expected with anything new, right? My advice is to play until you’re comfortable. Don’t immediately start out with them expecting to paint a masterpiece, but give yourself a little leeway and time to play with them to learn their quirks.