Steven Polson’s Paintbrushes

Seeing is believing: The artist has an incredible assortment of brushes.

Portraitist Steven Polson is in his element discussing technique (he has taught portrait and figure painting one night a week at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York City); he has a thorough understanding of color history, theory and specific qualities of paint, and he takes great pains mixing fleshtones—even creating his own burnt sienna by combining three brands.

Attention to detail also carries through to his brushes, which he refers to often, lovingly, as some mention their spouses or children. Indeed, to him they seem like touchstones. They are in pristine condition—even those at his easel, presumably in use every day.

The brushes range from treasured, discontinued antiques to hundreds of modern-day bristle filberts in sizes 1 through 12; there’s even an extremely rare set that are 2 feet long! Holding these antiquities at arm’s length, he discusses how John Singer Sargent supposedly tied brushes to bamboo sticks, distancing himself from the canvas to gain a better perspective.

The Artist’s Magazine featured an entire article on Steven Polson in their April 2010 issue.

See the April 2010 print issue here.
Check out the April 2010 digital issue here.

Meet Steven Polson
Polson has won numerous awards for his painting, including an Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation Grant and the Allied Artists of America Gold Medal of Honor. Polson has taught at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York City, as well as at the Pratt Institute, the Art Students League of New York and privately at his studio. Visit to learn more.

Louise B. Hafesh is an award-winning writer and artist. View a portfolio of her work at


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