Buying Without Trying

When I go to the art supplies store, I always hesitate in front of the display reserved to paint brushes. It’s like being in a chocolate shop and having to choose … How to make a satisfactory choice if I did not taste beforehand? How to choose the brush that will best fit my needs without being able to try it? I can only touch the bristles, test their flexibility and softness and imagine the rest.

I can also rely on the reputation of the manufacturer, other artists’ recommendations, the experience of the salesperson, the indications on the packaging and other sources, but ultimately, my level of satisfaction will necessarily be subjective.

Here are the Raphaël's spalter paint brushes from the 281series I bought. © 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Here are the Raphaël’s spalter paint brushes from the 281series I bought.
© 2015, Louise Lamirande.

Spalters Series 281

That said, I recently purchased two spalter brushes made by Raphael (France) from the Series 281 with Kaerell  bristles, a synthetic fiber. The handle is lacquered wood with a UV protecting varnish and a stainless steel ferrule. I bought two sizes of the same model, the 30mm wide (1 1 / 4in) and the 50 mm (2 inches).

A Great Idea: the Plastic Hanger

What drew my attention to these brushes is the good reputation of the manufacturer, but also, I have to admit it, the nice display of brushes. These brushes are sold attached to a plastic hanger indicating clearly all the information necessary to choose the right brushes corresponding to my needs: the level of bristles’ flexibility and ideal use. This is a great marketing idea and help when you are looking for new brushes.

The following video shows are Raphael’s brushes are made.


Recommended Use

Concerning the brushes I bought, the manufacturer recommends them for fluid painting (acrylic, gouache, washes), varnish, and to a lesser extent, for ink and watercolor. It is also possible to use them with gesso, but it is not the best choice. On the other hand, it is not advised to use them with thick paint, impasto or oil.

How I Use Them

I tried these brushes to apply acrylic glazing medium and ink on Yupo paper. The flexibility and the softness of the bristles allow fluid motion. Another good point, the bristles let almost no trace. Love it!

The Price

What about the price? Well, imported from France, these brushes are not cheap but if I consider the good services each one provide and take good care of them, I know they will last for many, many years and think they are an investment that pays off.


I am very happy with my purchase of these brushes from Raphaël.

If you are looking for spalter brushes for projects with acrylic, gouache, watercolor or ink, to make washes or apply varnish, take a look at the series 281 from Raphaël. Perhaps you too shall fall for these versatile brushes.

Thanks for your visit and see you soon,

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