I thought I might share a couple of things that make my life easier as an artist, realizing that those who read this could possible know about these already. But, if I help someone, then I am glad I posted about them!
As most artists do from time to time, I stumble across a brush that was overlooked and had become dried up and useless. No amount of soaking it in water did any good. But, if you soak the dried up brush in a bit of Murphy Oil Soap, you will get your brush back, as supple as if it were new. I had one brush which was so hard I could use it as hammer for tacks, and after a couple of days in the Murphy's it came clean. What I usually do is pour enough of the soap into a small container, make sure the brush is covered in it, then lean the small container against the wall, with the brush standing straight up in it. After the brush starts softening, I add a bit of water, swirl the brush around in to mix well, then let it sit till it's ready to be rinsed out. I have saved a lot of money by knowing this trick! (I don't recommend this for oil paint, as you need turpentine to clean those brushes, but can guarantee it for acrylic and I'm sure it will work for watercolor as well.)
A good small brush for your nails is perfect. Just make sure the bristles aren't so stiff they take off your skin!
This is a fairly new product, and I was told at the art supply store that this came out of all those fires they had in Colorado a couple of years ago. The pines were burnt on the outside, but it was discovered that by fine grinding the pulp, it makes a marvelous soap. And I tell you what - this cleans my hands, arms, knuckles, any place which has dried paint. It is soft on your skin and has a pleasant odor. Our art supply store has a hard time keeping it in stock! It's great for a workshop or anything that gets your hands dirty or oily. Use the small nail brush with it and your hands will look wonderfully clean. And it only takes a small amount.
Also, I found out the hard way that brushes should dry flat after they have been washed, instead of standing them in a container. The water runs down into the handle of the brush and pools where the handle is coupled to the brush and loosens the glue. If they dry flat. the water never gets near that area.
There, if these helped you, I'm glad!