Materials Handbook

A modern spin on a traditional brush
Most watercolorists are familiar with the traditional quill mop brush: a round, full wash brush that’s made of soft, absorbent squirrel hair. Raphael’s new Aqualine Soft Grip Squirrel Quill combines a high-quality traditional quill mop with a modern, cushioned ferrule for maximum performance and comfort. “The Aqualine is made with the finest Kazan squirrel hair (from the Russian region of Kazan), which gives it the ability to hold a lot of color and maintain a soft, fine point,” says Michael Ahearn, a company representative. Quill mops are coveted for their ability to hold a lot of paint and cover large areas, as well as to work on details with the sharp point, and the Aqualine lives up to the task, says Ahearn, offering “smooth, consistent color washes and soft, fine lines and details.”

What sets the Aqualine apart from other high-quality squirrel mops is the cushioned rubber ferrule that runs down the handle of the brush “for an ultra-soft feel in the artist’s hand.” The Aqualine also features a soft-edged ferrule to protect the fine hairs from breakage.

The Raphael Aqualine (distributed by Savoir Faire) is available in six sizes: extra-small ($19.95), small ($29.95), medium ($39.95), large ($49.95), extra-large ($89.95), and extra-extra-large ($124.95). You can also purchase a two-brush set (small and medium sizes) that comes with a metal brush holder ($75). For more information, visit or call 415/884-8090.

A palette the Old Masters would use
For years, artist Brad Kasten longed for a better palette. Because he couldn’t find anything on the market that fit the bill, he decided to make one. He researched the palettes used by masters of the past and then he talked to his father, Gary, a master cabinetmaker and woodcrafter, about his design. Together they made the palette Kasten wanted.

Artist friends from local plein air painting groups began to take note and asked him about his unique palette. He and his father began making special orders, one at a time, until they couldn’t keep up with the demand and realized they might be on to something. Today, Kasten, his father and his brother, Aaron, manufacture the Artisan palettes, along with solid wood easels and paint tables, in his father’s woodworking shop.

“The palettes are coated with a precatalyzed lacquer, which is resistant to oil paint and solvents,” says Kasten. “It’s a great finish for applying paints on and it cleans up beautifully, leaving your palette looking as new as the day you bought it.” Instructions on how to clean and maintain your palette are included with every palette, says Kasten. The neoprene rubber thumb insert is also resistant to solvents and oil paint.

Palettes by Artisan Wood Designs are available in maple, mahogany or walnut, and in sizes 11-?x18-? (“ideal for outdoor painting”), 14-?x23-? (“versatile enough for use indoors or out”) or 17-?x28-? (“for the serious studio painter”). Prices are $40, $60 and $95, respectively. For more information, visit, or call 800/952-2822.

Butch Krieger is a frequent contributor to The Artist’s Magazine. He lives in Port Angeles, Washington, where he teaches at Peninsula College.

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