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5 useful tips for looking after your equipment

Before the painting commences, I like to set everything up and prepare myself. Until I see a brush I haven't washed properly and then my plan changes slightly.

The best way to avoid wasting time when setting up is; care for your brushes and palette. It sounds simple and it is! Just ensure you follow these quick helpful tips when packing up to ensure you can jump straight back into the work when you start back up again.

Brushes

- Gather empty glass jars! Use these to hold small amounts of white spirit, (I tend to have three normally). The first jar is to get the most oil paint from your brush.

- Give this a wipe on an old rag (I use old t-shirts)

- Then wizz these around in the second jar, repeat wiping your brush

- Finally give this one last rinse in the cleanest jar of white spirit to make sure your brushes are nice and clean!

- I leave these to air on top of a rag, for my return.

Depending on your brush size and glass jars don't work out, try Wilkos as they stock small plastic buckets (http://www.wilko.com/white-spirit+brush-cleaners/wilko-paint-kettle-2l/invt/0288317)

Palette

Look after your palette and your palette will look after you.

As cheesy as it may seem, the more effort you make when cleaning your palette this plays dividends when mixing your paints.

The worst thing to happen is making plans for a nice cool light blue for a background and having bits of paint or dried paint which is another colour in your new mix.

Things to use:

White spirit

Wall paper scraper

Old rag

Palette knife

White card/paper

The white card/paper is used to place under your palette (glass or perspex) to give you a neutral background when mixing paint.

If you're tackling an old dry surface - use the sharp edge of your wallpaper scraper to score marks into the paint and pour a small amount of white spirit on to the top of the dried paint. It is important to leave this to soak into the dried oil paint for a good 15/20 mins.

Once this has soaked up, use your wallpaper scraper to easily scrape off the paint from your palette.

I would then use the old rag to wipe the palette clean and leave to dry.

The above may seem simple but it goes a long way to looking after your main pieces of equipment and tools.