December 6, 2012
How to Brush Up on Your Brushwork
Brushwork is an exciting component of oil painting and helps to define each artists work.
Take a clean white canvas and just make brushstrokes. Don’t have any preconceived scene or objects in mind. The idea is to loosen up and to see what you can do with a brush. Use paint, lots of paint and a little paint, thick paint and thin paint, small brushes and large brushes. You get the idea, diversify.
Create distance by just using brush strokes. Thin paint with very little visible “strokes”, flat horizontal strokes in the background, then vertical strokes with a wider brush and thicker paint as you move forward in the foreground. Try it in this order and you will see distance in the strokes themselves. This will get you on the right path to experimenting with your brushwork.
Then use brush strokes to define the shape of objects, round and square. Now try the contour of a mountain, tree, horizontal field, etc. Then think about edges. Where do you want the eye to go? Do you want it to stop with a hard edge or flow into the next shape, stroke or color?
You can create form and movement in your brush strokes with very little color or value changes. Try using one color with different brushstrokes, creating distance with just brushstrokes. Give it a try.