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Painting NYC with Rosemary and Co Travel Brushes

June 14, 2017

Getting to be a ways back now, Rosemary & Co sent me a set of their travel brushes, saying, give them a go and tell us what you think. It was winter at the time, so today’s the day I finally get down to a review.

And I’m happy to say, I like’em a lot!

They’re a nice sharp sable brush, just a good as any I’ve tried. But – these are the reversible/pocket brush models, where the brush slips back into the hollow handle. So they’re extra convenient for packing along on a holiday.

Just what the Urban Sketcher ordered.

You can throw them into any old bag or pocket, and they’ll always be protected.

They come in natural Sable (my preference for watercolor) and, quite unusually, Rosemary offers them in a wide range of brush types, including Flats (one stroke), Riggers, Filberts, a Comber (rake), Mops and even a Dagger (in a mixed Sable/Nylon blend). As well, there’s a few sizes of Squirrel mops, if you like the softer hair.

Now, I personally like to do everything with a pointed round, so that’s all I used on these sketches. But for those who want more variety, this is a nice option I haven’t seen in competing travel brushes.

You know, I haven’t really done a lot of street-sketching in NYC. It seems like every time we go, it’s for a museum exhibition. So it’s great to get out on the street at last.

Rosemary NYC Trip 04_Grand Central Station_Manhattan

btw, all the photos on the blog (unless otherwise credited) are by Laurel A. Holmes. Ya’ll knew that right? :)

We took the train in, starting from Grand Central Station, and just started walking with no particular itinerary.

We were there with our painter-friend Shari Blaukopf. She knows the town well – so she made sure we found some great spots – like this cafe in Bryant Park, behind the public library.

I won’t go on any further about the brushes – I’ll be sending a full review to Paint and Draw magazine in the near future. I’ll give you a heads up when that’s out.

But suffice to say, I painted this whole sketch with Rosemary’s #10 pointed round. It does everything I’d ever need, at least at the 9×12″ or quarter sheet size. They don’t quite come large enough for bigger paintings. I go up to a #4 mop or #14/16 round for half sheet.

But for what I’m doing here, one brush handles both broad passages and ultra fine lines, and can be splayed for dragging or raking leaves and branches.

I like to get a lot of mark making out of the one brush – it’s too much trouble to be switching back and forth while sketching on location.

After Bryant Park , we did some shopping at Muji (Shari needed a hat).

And we ended up at the Flatiron.  (There she is with her new hat).

There were huge crowds at the nearby NYC BBQ Festival. I saw squads of photographers standing in the street to get the classic Flatiron shot. Somehow. people didn’t seem to know about this cafe at the base of the building.

Incredibly, they have a sign front and center, declaring “You don’t have to buy anything to sit here.” You can bet I took them up on that.

What a deal! It left me with a much better feeling about NYC than our time in Venice Italy. I’ll tell you. Every square inch of shade, every single chair in Venice – locked down and guarded!

I mean, I don’t mind buying a coffee for the chance to do some sketching in comfort. But hey – free is free.

Thanks NYC! What a great day :)

 

37 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2017 3:10 PM

    It was a great day. I laughed when I read this because we look so serious. Thanks to Laurel for the great photos of all the places we never got to sketch like Grand Central and Katz’s Deli.

  2. Joyce Stein permalink
    June 14, 2017 3:32 PM

    Enjoy all your ‘adventures’ especially those detailing your supplies. Looks like Rosemary & Co. Travel Brushes are well worth the cost. Thanks for sharing.
    Joyce S

  3. Iris Ong permalink
    June 14, 2017 3:33 PM

    Marc Gotta hand it to you…You and Shari are brave in this heat!!! I stayed in AC and wont go out. Anyway, welcome to our city and may there be more great times. ;-)) Iris

    Direct from Central.

    On Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 3:06 PM, Citizen Sketcher wrote:

    > Marc Taro Holmes posted: ” Getting to be a ways back now, Rosemary & Co > sent me a set of their travel brushes, saying, give them a go and tell us > what you think! It was winter at the time, so today’s the day I finally get > down to a review. And I’m happy to say, I like” >

  4. Julie permalink
    June 14, 2017 3:42 PM

    Ha! That last photo of you guys is awesome. So candid and captures two important processes, critique, and observation.

    • June 14, 2017 6:07 PM

      I am pretty sure Shari is a GAL not a “guy”…

      • Julie permalink
        June 14, 2017 6:56 PM

        I know her to be, yes. The term “guys” has pretty much lost it’s sex-based meaning in our modern lexicon, I had thought. I figured it safe to use. I’m feeling rather policed. I hope she’s not offended, but I sense that you are, Elleen.

  5. zuzala permalink
    June 14, 2017 4:00 PM

    Mmmm painting And Katz’s?!. Can’t think of a better day! Great seeing you both at the NYCBG!

  6. Maggie Mardis permalink
    June 14, 2017 4:07 PM

    This was very helpful. Thanks for the review and a mini-tour of NYC with you too.

  7. Lyn Watts permalink
    June 14, 2017 4:27 PM

    Hi Marc

    I am a passionate plein aire urban sketcher and am running a session for our local Art Club here in Tauranga NZ next month.

    Brushes and how to transport them easily without damaging has always been a trial and the Rosemary brushes sound fantastic!

    Which size brush would you recommend for A4 paper please – a “one brush does most” recommendation.

    Warm regards -Lyn Watts

    >

    • June 14, 2017 4:40 PM

      Hey Lyn – the largest I have in Rosemary is the #3 round. That worked for me for 9×12″ – which is a little larger than A4. If I could find bigger I’d get it. The larger the better in sable – Until you break the bank :) As the point is always sharp.

      I think Escoda travel brushes come larger than Rosemary? I think? But you’ll have to look at local retailers.

      • June 17, 2017 7:43 PM

        OOPS mistake here – that’s not a #3, that’s a #10. I was thinking in mop sizes not round sizes. It’s actually kind of confusing, as the brushes have NO MARKINGS on them. I had written 1.2.3 on the barrel on a piece of tape. But I see on their site it’s called the R3, #10 size. So, extra confusing. No label, and two numbers for one brush!

  8. June 14, 2017 4:35 PM

    Mark,
    Thanks for the comments on the new Rosemary brush. Isabey, Escoda, DaVinci and Connoisseur all make sable travel brushes. I have a number 10 from DaVinci and it will handle a large piece of paper. My favorite is the Connoisseur flat number 7, also their round number 7. For students I like the DaVinci Cosmotop, a synthetic, because the tip doesn’t wear down for a very long time.
    Kath Macaulay
    Pocket Sketching

    • June 14, 2017 4:38 PM

      I certainly like Escoda and DaVinci – (don’t know Connoisseur) – but I can’t go along with you on the Cosmotop. I’m not very impressed with their nylon synthetic at all. I’d rather suggest student go for a Princeton Elite or Neptune if they must – but really, if you learn on a sable, you learn the right skills :)

  9. June 14, 2017 5:13 PM

    Marc,
    Thanks. I’ll try both of those and also have students try them. They’re both new to me.

    Kath

  10. June 14, 2017 6:09 PM

    I have the travel Sable #6 and the travel.Squirrel mop. I use the squirrel more..Just have to be very careful not to catch the hairs when you put the cap on…
    Thanks, see you soon in Chicago!!

    • June 14, 2017 6:11 PM

      That’s true! It’s kind of nerve wracking putting the brush back. You have to sacrifice your health and lick the brush. There’s no other way.

  11. June 14, 2017 9:12 PM

    I was going to ask size too. Thanks. Fun to see ‘real’ New York again. I haven’t been back in 5 yrs. love the bride and groom in Grand Central! And I love Shari’s hat.

    • June 14, 2017 10:34 PM

      Yes! Getting their wedding photos at 9am :) I guess you have to beat the rush if you want to be the only ones there :) Size – these are ‘small’ – for me – 9×12″ sheet minus tape borders.

  12. Debo Boddiford permalink
    June 15, 2017 12:51 AM

    Enjoyed your adventure and info about the brushes! I’ve never made it to Bryant Park on our visits to NYC for doctor appointments. It’s not very far from our favorite hotel…I’ll make an extra effort to get there in July.
    I’ve visited Grand Central twice…once at 5:00pm. I titled that photo, ‘it’s five o’clock somewhere’!

  13. June 15, 2017 4:20 AM

    Hi I love the freedom of your brush work even though I don’t do watercolors. I’ve been to NYC twice in my life back in the 80’s so it’s nice to see your take on it. And great to know about those handy travel brushes too.

  14. June 15, 2017 9:53 AM

    Great sketches, photos and write up :) I just purchased and started watching one of yours and one of Shari’s videos — hoping to learn tricks and tips for sketching and painting faster and improve my out put of travel sketches :)

  15. June 15, 2017 1:31 PM

    Nice review of the brushes (and great sketches with them as well!); I’m going to keep an eye out for them on my next trip to the art supply store.

  16. June 15, 2017 6:11 PM

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  17. Bill Brickner permalink
    June 16, 2017 7:36 AM

    Hi Marc, I’d love to see what you did at the NY Botanical Garden. I went there, but didn’t see you.

    • June 16, 2017 10:52 AM

      Hey! too bad we missed each other! I was in my spot for the AM, then moved for the PM to get out of the scorching sun :) I’ll post that up next – coming soon :)

  18. Erik Madsen permalink
    June 16, 2017 8:47 AM

    Hi Marc, very nice post. In your photo of the travel brushes, can you tell me the difference between the bottom and middle brush. It looks like the one you liked is the middle brush.
    Thanks
    Erik Madsen

    • June 16, 2017 6:07 PM

      Hey Erik : The dark one is Squirrel, the “amber” colored in the middle is Sable Hair. I prefer the Sable, yes. It’s a ‘springy’ and sharp. Shari preferred the Squirrel as it’s softer and makes better blends. So, it’s up to each taste. There are more options from Rosemary in sable – the squirrel only comes in three or four sizes of mop/round.

  19. joantav permalink
    June 16, 2017 6:00 PM

    Love seeing your take on these iconic NYC locations! I have one of the Rosemary sable travel brushes and really like it. I know they will be in Chicago, so I’m bringing along some extra spending money. It was great to meet you at the NYBG. See you in Chicago.

    • June 16, 2017 6:04 PM

      The dark one is Squirrel, the “amber” colored in the middle is Sable Hair. I prefer the Sable, it’s a ‘springy’ and sharp. Shari preferred the Squirrel as it’s softer and makes better blends. So, it’s up to each taste. There are more choices in sable tho – the squirrel only comes in three or four sizes of mop/round.

      • June 16, 2017 6:05 PM

        Woops I answer the wrong comment – Yes! Looking to Chicago – starting to plan my demo!

  20. Judy Sopher permalink
    June 17, 2017 5:03 AM

    Love your work. They are always wonderful. And also the photos of you and Shari. I haven’t been to NYC in about 50 years and I envy you–both for being able to go there and sketch and having someone to do this with you.

    Question- Are the brush sizes numbered in reverse from those in the US? I Above you wrote that the #3 is a little larger than the #4. I would like to buy one and considering somewhere in this range.

    • June 17, 2017 8:46 AM

      Maybe in misspoke – 3 is the biggest I found in the pocket sable rounds.

      • June 17, 2017 7:45 PM

        Ok I figured out my confusion. – that’s not a #3, that’s a #10. I was thinking in mop sizes not round sizes. It’s actually kind of confusing, as the brushes have NO MARKINGS on them. I had written 1.2.3 on the barrel on a piece of tape. But I see on their site it’s called the “R3, #10 size”. So, it’s extra confusing because they use two numbers for one brush! And then when they arrive, you don’t know for sure which is which. Easier when you have it in hand :)

  21. Bernadette permalink
    June 17, 2017 12:12 PM

    Thank you for your posts. Love the city of NY but it’s been ages since I was there. I also follow Sheri, it was to see posts from each of you and he buildings you chose. With so much visual stimulus it would be hard for me to paint a pleasing composition. I get lost in the details. Your explanations help a lot. Thank you again for the beauty of your clean, fresh washes of watercolors.

  22. tmikeporter permalink
    June 18, 2017 11:49 PM

    I have been using Rosemary’s travel sable and mop for several years now and really like them. Now may get the flat. Nice post. Glad you and Shari are having fun.

  23. August 5, 2017 4:47 PM

    Its fun to see what you painted that day… and now that I have Beta watercolor paper in quarter sheet sizes AND a new set of Rosemary travel brushes, I’m going to try them out together: quarter sheet pieces is my attempt to ‘go big’: a step up in size from my sketchbooks.

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