High above the clouds, atop an antediluvian white elephant, rests the tiny, elusive Clouds brush on a floating cumulonimbus. Shy and recondite at first, it needs a little coaxing to come out of its shell, but once it gets going, it’s happy to be yours. It’s an individual that must come to be known, just as it will get to know you in return.
Fine, soft fur or feathers of an animal, sunlight sparkles on water, all the Lilliputian minutiae in a painting – this brush can handle them all. It is equally suited to the delicate detail required in botanical painting.
Why clouds? Clouds are merry and alive and represent the Air element. The brush logo is based on the ancient Chinese character for cloud. Tellingly, it is itself a happy spiral hanging from the sky.
Its ferrule is nickel-plated brass and the hair is the finest sable. Three times the price of gold, it is the best hair for creating the thin, elegant lines in miniature painting. The handle is raw birch wood, which is lightest and easiest to hold and allows for the best grip, which in turn grants the most control. Since these brushes are specially designed by me, they are not standard sizes, although they are close to the European size 00000 (UK equivalent 000).
In time, its true nature will be revealed; perhaps it is suited to the tiny, smooth lines of miniature painting; maybe it wants to relax into the natural flow of curves in illumination or tazhib; possibly it feels at home in the brilliant world of watercolour – it’s up to you to discover. Seek and you shall find. The master artist makes the brush their own. They know when to be gentle and when they can press a little harder. But do go slowly: after all, it’s a virgin.
Each Clouds brush should have come with a small flag on the brush lid - I encourage everybody to always keep these lids for all brushes you have anyway as they are also brush tip protectors. And the flags tell you what the Clouds brushes are.
However, there is another, better way to tell: take your 3 brushes and draw a spiral with all 3. One of the brushes is best at doing so and will give you the nicest spiral (this is the Illumination brush); write this down on the brush handle. Then draw a fine, thin line with the other 2; one of them will give you the nicest line (this is the Miniature brush). The last one is the Fine Detail brush and good for doing dots, foliage etc.
I also encourage everyone to write on their brush handles what they are good at doing (eg spirals, leaves, flowers/foliage etc...) - thus personalising the brush to you. It may also be that in future as you calibrate the brush to your unique painting style you find other uses for it, and I left the handles in raw birch wood so that you can write down what they are good for. Happy doodling, happy painting!