I teach the Painting I, Oil Painting II and Watercolor classes at our high
Before we even begin painting, we review the "how to's" on cleaning brushes
properly. I keep an eye on the kids and I remind them that I am very
serious about the brushes being taken care of properly while they are in my
class (example: when using acrylic paints, you need to be careful the paint
doesn't dry on the brush or the brush will be ruined) and when they are done
for the class period (all brushes are to be washed with soap and water-scrub
in the palm of the hand- until the water runs clear). Also, each student
uses a spray bottle to periodically spritz water on the acrylic paint to
keep it moist during class. Students are told that brushes and paint (oils
and acrylics) can be quite an expensive part of a teacher's budget so they
do, for the most part, follow those requests. I still have to oversee
cleanup, however, because sometimes one or two students get a little lazy.
I use the phrase, "It's your responsibility....." quite often.
Of course with oils it is a little different. I have the kids take a paper
towel and squeeze out any left-over oil in the brush (as much as possible)
and then I have them put their brushes in a large, tall plastic container
that has Natural Turpenoid in it. The brushes then can "soak" a little in
the Turpennoid and I clean those myself. Oils are beautiful to work with,
but the cleanup can be messy and time-consuming and if you're using regular
Turpentine, the room reeks of it. I use cheap styrafoam plates as palettes
for both oils and acrylics. When using oils we just wrap up the plate in
saran wrap for the following day's use. When using acrylics, I scrape off
any unused/unspoiled acrylic that is on those plates (with small scraps of
illustration board strips) back into the jars. Then the plates are tossed
out. It really sounds like I am nuts, but it sure saves ALOT on
wastefulness. The kids learn that acrylics and oils are expensive and they
get into the routine real fast. I have each student bring in 150-count
package of plates at the beginning of the term and that gets us through alot
When using the watercolor brushes, one just needs to remind students that
after washing out the brushes, squeeze out the remaining water and re-shape
I have brushes, now, that I've had for quite a number of years. Because my
students have been taught at the get-go to take care of these expensive
supplies, I have had few brushes that have been ruined. It's just part of
the whole experience of learning to be responsible.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chantal Pinnow" <email@example.com>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2006 12:01 AM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] paint clean up
>I am curious about what clean-up procedures some of you use for painting
> (especially cleaning brushes). I teach middle school and high school. Some
> kids are very careful with the brushes they use, but there are always
> that bend the bristles every which way and leave paint in the brushes to
> before I ever discover it.
> -How do you make sure everyone is cleaning brushes properly?
> -Do you keep your brushes divided by sizes?
> -How do you keep community areas like sinks cleaned up?
> -Does anyone use the divided water buckets? How do you clean those???
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