Tony Pro, as well as other prominent artists including Richard Schmid, Jeremy Lipking, Nancy Guzik, Morgan Weistling, and Michael Klein, have long kept Royal & Langnickel's long, flat, sables in their quiver of brushes. These brushes, the series 5590, offer a distinctive calligraphy in their stroke which has been prized by many oil painters, but as one successful artist put it, "they are probably the worst brushes out there." Despite the problems artists report with the Langnickels (mostly the errant hairs they are forced to pick from their canvas), no other brush could do what they do, so the brushes have remained in everyone's arsenal.
Pro has recently reported, however, that he, Lipking, and Weistling have found a substitute brush which holds up much better than the Langnickel 5590. All three have switched to brushes made by Rosemary & Co., a small, family-run business located in Great Britain, where all the work is still done by hand. Rosemary's series 279, which is a long, flat, Mongoose hair brush, seems to be the closest to the Langnickel 5590, though Pro also uses and recommends the company's Mongoose brights and filberts.
I have already ordered several of the series 279, and I will share my thoughts on those brushes when they arrive. It would be wonderful if artists could have a personal relationship with a master brush-maker again, like many painters once had a century ago.
Don't forget, Pro has also released his first DVD, The Portrait Sketch, which can be ordered directly from the artist through his website. I have not seen the video myself, but being familiar with Pro as a person and as an artist, and seeing how emotional he is about this tribute painting of his father, I am sure that he put everything he had into this production. The alla prima demonstration is over 4 hours long, and includes discussions on materials, color choices, and obtaining a likeness. Also, Pro's long time friend and cohort, Jeremy Lipking, joins Tony in the audio commentary portion of the video: the two previously collaborated on Lipking's highly-successful, first DVD.