This month I attended the National Exhibition of Oil Painters of America in Evergreen, Colorado. One of the many highlights of this weekend was a three hour demonstration by Quang Ho. His alla prima approach was extremely informative both in what he looks for when judging--that info can be found in his DVD, Nuts and Bolts--and his thinking/approach to painting. What was new to me was a brush called an Egbert (it sounds like a cartoon character doesn't it) and in Quang's hand was amazing. Here is what it looks like. It's an extremely long filbert.
This one is a Robert Simmons Signet but other companies make them. It gives you the ability to make bold beautiful sweeping strokes like a Japanese calligraphy brush and can twist on its edge for expressive thin/thick lines. As soon as I got home I ordered two. I had to condition the bristles before I used them in order to get rid of the stiffness. Quang used this brush to apply the initial layer of paint in a soft, loose manner and continued to use it throughout the entire painting. If you want to see him in action, check out his DVD, Painting the Still Life.