I got this email from Karen E. Lewis..who took the time to explain the baby oil brush cleaning system to me. (Thanks, Karen!)
I have gotten a couple of other emails about using baby oil so I thought I would post Karen's description.
I am definitely going to try it (and it makes more sense the way Karen told me she does it. I may have not have listened properly to Elio).
(email from Karen):
I have used baby oil (actually mineral oil) since I started oil painting.
I keep a dipper full at the table when I am painting. I dip my brush
in it, then smush it on my palette to get the oil mixed in, and wipe
the brush really well to get the oil out. I don't smush the brushes
in the oil dipper. I change brushes if I change temperature or go to
yellow or white. I wipe the brushes REALLY WELL after cleaning during
At the end of the paint day, I wash them with dish detergent and hot
water and all the oil comes out. Well, most of it. They are really
clean. I lay them flat to dry, then store them upright bristles up,
If I can't get them washed, I just soak them in baby oil and lay them
flat on a towel, and they won't dry or get hard. If they are in my
plein air kit, sometimes they don't get soaked in oil or washed for
weeks, and they are fine, and plenty clean enough to paint with.
They are less brittle than my friend's brushes who uses solvent.
They also aren't as fussy about being absolutely clean during painting
because there isn't solvent picking up pigment and depositing it in my
(Thanks again Karen)