More and more watercolour and gouache artists are tempted by offers of brushes which seem a bargain, asthey are advertised as “pure Kolinsky Red Sable” or have similar promising sounding labels.

The following information will enable you to be more critical of such offers. What is it that the watermedia painterexpects from a Kolinsky sable brush? Longevity, a large capacity to hold colour, elasticity,springiness as well as a finely tailored tip with snap.

Longevity and elasticity is achieved by only using the male tail hair of theKolinsky red sable (mustela sibirica), grown in the extreme cold of Siberian and Manchurian winters.

The elasticity and the springiness of the brush depend on another speciality that should be taken into account. Most hair tapers evenly from the root to the tip. Sable hair, however, shows a root-likethickening only after a good third up the length.

The enormous ability to absorb colour, a must for fluid watercolour painting, will naturally stay our secret. But the following is food for thought: The ancient Egyptians provided ample irrigation from the Nile to their fields through canals and reservoirs. We are grateful to our namesake patron Leonardo daVinci for the description of the so-called capillary action: How liquid rises up and across within a narrow hollow. This knowledge underlies the manufacture of our products. Through enforced pressure the drop-free, continuous supply of colour is furthered and a precise tip.

If the hair is set too short into the ferrule, the brush wears out quickly. The manufacturer, however, will save significantly alone in hair cost.

When purchasing a brush you should always have in mind: da Vinci complies with international standards on brush type sizes. Never buy a brush size “blind” - always compare the diameter. The exact details of all series are to befound at www.davinci-defet.com.

It pays off to paint with a da Vinci Kolinsky red sable water colour brush.