Kalish Finest Brushes
I’m always on the lookout for new art supply companies and manufacturers to test their products against my old favourites. For oil painters, our materials are fairly basic- paint, brushes, canvas and stretchers-but the subtle differences between brands in each category can make a tube of paint or a new brush feel either like a revelation, or like you’ve just flushed your money down the toilet. I’m always searching for a better brush, and Kalish’s made in Ireland brushes are my new go-to brush, and my best art supply discovery of 2017.
Kalish Finest Brushes is a family business based out of New Jersey, USA, and manufacturing in Ireland. They are an internet/mail-order company only. While they’ve been in business for many years, I’ve only just come across their website while searching for new brushes. Their web presence is small compared the bigger brands, and their website looks pretty dated by today’s standards. Don’t let that deter you- I’ve places two orders now from Canada, and both times the order has arrived without a hitch in 7 days.
My first order was a bit of trial run, and I ordered my usual style- Filberts, in the natural Chungking bristle. I ordered a variety of sizes: #1, #2, #4, #6, #8 #10, #12 and 2 fan brushes, #4 and #6.
After unpacking my order, I put my brushes into action alongside all my others – my Winsor and Newton, Escoda, Treckell, Grumbacher, Raphael, Pro Arte, Rosemary…yes, I’m a bit of brush nut/hoarder!
After working with the brushes for 2 months and completing 3 paintings, I found myself reaching for the Kalishes more often, and pushing the other brands to the side. The brushes have a great shape to them that holds up when loaded with paint. They are relatively stiff , so they don’t collapse against the canvas as a synthetic, or lighter brush would.
I haven’t had any issues with the brushes losing hairs as I work.
I tend to both mix paint with my brush, and scrub my canvases with them, so how a brush wears down over time, is critical. I eventually will wear out every brush down to a nub, and the best brushes can be used until the very end. After a few months of hard work, I’m wearing my brushes down, but they’re retaining their shapes nicely, and I expect them to remain viable until the very end.
The brushes come with a nice black handle and silver coloured metal ferrule. The brush handle is what you would expect- sturdy enough for a long handled brush and the ferrules are still tight after a few months work.
Overall, the Kalish chungking brushes have been a great purchase-I was happy enough to place my second order for more brushes 2 months after my first order.
Find out more about Kalish brushes at their website:
photos copyright Peter D Harris, 2017