I purchased some synthetic brushes recommended by Fabio Cembranelli for his workshop I attended recently. I have used Sable brushes for many years so before I left I did a few days practice. They certainly carried water very differently and it took time to get used to not dropping blobs onto my paper. After painting with them now for a month I am hooked. They can take a bit of punishment when I want to be a bit scrubby with them and they still return immediately to their beautiful shape.
These are called Escoda Prado, they were reasonably priced too. My sables have covered a lot of brush miles and the tips were no longer pointed and they really need replacing but I am going to delay whilst I am having good success with these new synthetics.
Scrubbing? - I have also recently decided I love using Hot Press Paper where washes even if dried can be scrubbed a little and lifted easily but I also love how easily watermarks or cauliflowers can be created. I am using mostly Saunders Waterford 425gsm but have also purchased some Arches 300gsm but this is incredibly smooth whereas the SW has a little tension.
I have also been experimenting with finding pigments that swim fast when added to an already wet wash as I am fascinated by the way they do magic all on their own.
Here I have used usual choices of Burnt Sienna and French Ultra Marine but when I add a touch of Manganese Blue it explodes on the paper and then finds its place to settle.
After spending the past few years honing my cold and rough press techniques with my lovely sable brushes I look forward to my next period of painting time using my new found tools and seeing where they take me. We are so lucky with our chosen medium to have so many choices to help us create unique watercolours.