I like to use canvas boards to practice with brushes and brush strokes. In particular I have been looking for ways to paint trees, especially evergreens. I live in a evergreen forest so they are a subject that comes up frequently.
I learned a technique from a video Frank Clarke's How to Paint a Landscape I liked the video but had hard time finding the brush he recommended, a 1.5" flat. I got a 60% Michael's discount coupon and decided try one of the upscale, professional brushes. Didn't like it at all. I was looking for a stiff brush. I finally found a brush that worked pretty darned good. It was in a $7.00 brush set I found at Wal-Mart. Proving once again spending more isn't always the answer. At least not in my experience.
I actually like this. It's funny, I have several practice boards lying around and people, not knowing they are practice boards, often are drawn to them as paintings they really like. It always makes me smile but I never tell. :😃