Ask Our Expert

SAA PA Steve Williams is a mine of useful information about art techniques and products, and here he suggests some solutions to your artistic dilemmas

Q Which is the best type of glass to use for framing paintings – non-reflective or anti-reflective? I read that it’s the latter but I’m not sure what the difference is between them?
Peter Baker

A Anti-reflective glass, diffused glass and non-reflective glass are all the same animal. They are made in the same way as normal glass, but then go through a further process in which abrasive material is blow at the surface, leaving millions of tiny indentations which scatter the light, rather than reflect it. This is useful in many situations, for instance when you are hanging a picture on a wall opposite a window, where you would usually see only the reflection of the window in normal clear glass. Non-reflective glass may be slightly more expensive than clear, but not much, and there is no difference in longevity, though this will very much depend upon the thickness. The main difference between the two in terms of picture framing, is that the non-reflective glass - depending upon its surface ‘roughness’ - may give a slightly less clear view of your painting, but this will obviously depend on the painting itself and its desired hanging position. I don't think there is a right and wrong here, it is really a matter of personal choice.

Q I paint using acrylics. While working on a painting I keep my brushes wet by laying them down sideways in a shallow tray of clean water so as not to damage the bristles. This works well and at the end of the day I clean them properly with soap and warm water. I try to make sure that only the bristles and ferrule are under water but the brush handle paint often cracks and sometimes falls off the handles. How can I stop this happening while still keeping the bristles wet during the day?
Tony Lilley

A My first medium is also acrylics, so I know the pitfalls of the system as far as brushes are concerned. I would never lay them in shallow water for the very reason that it does damage the integrity of the shaft. The best way to avoid this is to suspend them upright with the water just covering the bristles. This can be achieved in a number of ways, and one that works for me is to use a product called an Aluminium Brush Washer, which is available through the SAA HomeShop. It consists of a small tub, with a tall wire handle, horizontal at the top, around which is wound a large open coil spring. The shaft of the brush is gripped by the spring, so the bristles are suspended in the water contained in the tub, and the brushes are always clean with nice shiny shafts!


Ask Our Expert

SAA PA Steve Williams is a mine of useful information about art techniques and products, and here he suggests some solutions to your artistic dilemmas

Q Which is the best type of glass to use for framing paintings – non-reflective or anti-reflective? I read that it’s the latter but I’m not sure what the difference is between them?
Peter Baker

A Anti-reflective glass, diffused glass and non-reflective glass are all the same animal. They are made in the same way as normal glass, but then go through a further process in which abrasive material is blow at the surface, leaving millions of tiny indentations which scatter the light, rather than reflect it. This is useful in many situations, for instance when you are hanging a picture on a wall opposite a window, where you would usually see only the reflection of the window in normal clear glass. Non-reflective glass may be slightly more expensive than clear, but not much, and there is no difference in longevity, though this will very much depend upon the thickness. The main difference between the two in terms of picture framing, is that the non-reflective glass - depending upon its surface ‘roughness’ - may give a slightly less clear view of your painting, but this will obviously depend on the painting itself and its desired hanging position. I don't think there is a right and wrong here, it is really a matter of personal choice.

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