Tips for Watercolor Painters: Brush Skills Part Two

painterlyPainterly Strokes
Dab an old #12 Serie 7 Winsor & Newton round red sable on a paint color and start by laying the full brush on the paper and lifting away cleanly. Try more short dabbing strokes across your paper. Rinse your brush and change colors. Keep your brush strokes uniform in width as you start to overlap strokes to develop shapes. Play with different groupings of brush strokes across your paper. Use as many color as you please. Continue laying down similar brush strokes trying different angles of attack. Allow your wet brush strokes to intermingle as you progress.

stabThe Stab
Start by dipping your brush into a color you want and gently poke or stab your brush into the paper. The effect that you want to see after doing this is to see a fanning pattern of the hairs as you push it into the paper. Continue doing this on your paper, adding some twist or spin to your stroke by rolling your brush in your fingers as you paint. Experiment with angles of attack to find the best spreading point for the brush you are using. Consciously try to shape the hairs as you press a stroke into the paper. Give it a little wiggle while the brush hairs rest on the paper to make them align. Rinse and switch colors and/or brushes. Continue to practice spreading and twisting your brush, building texture across the paper. Look for organic shapes and textures as you allow your strokes and colors to overlap and blend. This is another example of a what is considered a painterly stroke.

cutCutting Edges
“Cutting an edge” is a sign painter’s term for pulling a clean line of paint with your brush. A clean line being a line that is smooth and flowing with no irregularities. Consider each shape before you start to paint. You may lightly doodle the shapes first before painting. A round #8 Grumbacher Watercolor Classic red sable brush can be used in larger shapes a round #4 Kolonok 1001 Series Kolinsky sable for smaller shapes. If your brush is too full to get a proper point, touch it on a sponge, tissue, or towel to remove excess paint before you start. While you have one color in your brush try painting all the different shapes across the page in that one color. Rinse your brush out, switch colors, and repeat. For sharp corners use the very tip of your brush and start the brush stroke at the corner point of the shape. For circular shapes, start your curving brush stroke inside the edge of the shape and pull the stroke into position before continuing the stroke. Switch to a smaller brush and try some mini shapes.

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