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Part 1 – Introduction to Painting, Assignment 1

Finished Piece with brown tinted Background

Finished Piece with brown tinted Background

The Subject

It wasn’t difficult to think of a subject to paint for this assignment, I really enjoyed painting on the dark ground for the last tonal study and I managed to pull the chiaroscuro effects off quite well, I really needed to see if I could do it again with different subjects. Maybe in the style of Caravaggio.

Finished Tonal Study

Tonal Study on a dark ground

While working through the drawing 1 course, one or more students had drawn still life’s that included a chopping board and a knife, this gave me a great idea, I had used an orange in the last two tonal studies, Tonal study on a white ground and Tonal study on a dark ground  so why not finish this part of the course with a still life of that orange been sliced in half on a cutting board. It would not just be the last in a series of paintings but it would be symbolic of the end of part 1.

 

chosen subjects

chosen subjects

I also wanted to include the candle that I had used to light the second tonal study in my assignment piece so I was only lacking two subjects a large knife and a chopping board, I tried getting a natural chopping board, I usually see people selling them on the streets but when it came to buying 1 they were no where insight so a machined board and carving knife from Tesco had to do. Because i wanted to use as much as the dark ground as i possibly could I chose a black handled knife with three rivets.

After cutting the candle in half to bring it lower to the other objects, it was apparent that I needed an extra object, a small towel, to prop up the knife.

Preliminary Studies

Materials used:

  • Canson A4 sketchbook
  • Derwent Charcoal Pencil
  • Compressed Charcoal
  • Graphite stick
  • Putty rubber
First study - charcoal pencil sketch with notes

First study in Charcoal pencil

 

The first study I did was of all the objects together but with the orange in 1 piece, I did the first studies with the light on and candle unlit but took notes of how the composition looked in electric light and daylight. It was pretty hard to choose as both lighting looked good and the compositions looked great from all angles.

The tonal studies helped me to group the objects and specific parts of the objects into groups that shared the same colour properties and tonal properties e.g. the orange, the cutting board and the candle shared similar tones and colour, the handle and the background and the towel, blade and rivets; in candlelight the groups changed.

2nd charcoal pencil sketch notes

2nd charcoal pencil sketch notes

2nd charcoal pencil sketch

2nd charcoal pencil sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the first study I decided to go ahead, be brave and cut the orange, the composition then went from a simple composition with 4 objects to a more technical composition with five. It also created more groups with the light off the candle and orange on its side sharing similar colour and tonal properties and the board and other half of the orange having similar properties.

In the third study I decided to omit the towel but there wasn’t enough contrast in the composition for my liking plus i didn’t know if the knife would stay up for long. The blue towel was a nice contrast between the yellows, orange and beige and other natural tones of the cutting board.

3rd Study - Notes

3rd Study – Notes

3rd Study in graphite stick and charcoal pencil

3rd Study in graphite stick and charcoal pencil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After making three studies with the light on I decided to try something different, as I would be painting this most likely with the light on to try and to further experimentation with chiaroscuro which was what I had initially intended to do I would make the next sketch in candlelight. This gave me an idea to make the next drawing using an entirely different technique. Lifting off the charcoal rather than drawing with it.

 

4th Study Charcoal lift off

4th Study Charcoal lift off

4th Study - notes

4th Study – notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time I drew from a different angle with my head closer to the level of the table, this added to a more dramatic effect and the knife rather than reflecting the orange and light like I had tried for in the first few sketches was completely dark with only a slight tonal difference between the handle and the blade; this meant that I could use more of the dark ground and could ‘model light’ defining the knife with a few simple details and highlights, this appealed to me. The shadow cast by the orange in front of the knife was also very appealing it meant that I could create a good sense of depth in the painting. I just wasn’t sure how well I would be able to paint the candle, flame and the light the glow around it.

Colour study

Materials used:

  • Canson watercolour paper painted with a dark wash
  • Oil pastels
5 Colour Study in Oil Pastel

5 Colour Study in Oil Pastel

At this stage it was a toss up between the mediums I felt comfortable with for the finished assignment piece, either acrylic or oil pastel and so decided to a colour study in oil pastel on an A3 sheet of watercolour paper prepared with an imprimatura of Payne’s grey. The colour study helped me to determine which colours I would use for the final drawing, these were:

  • titanium white
  • payne’s grey
  • light blue
  • cadmium orange
  • pearl orange
  • chromium green
  • yellow ochre
  • lemon yellow
  • burnt umber

Finished Piece

materials used:

  • Canson A2 Acrylic paper 15 x 18 inch
  • Acrylic paint (colours as above)
  • Paint brushes – medium wide, filbert (2 sizes), round pointed (2 sizes), angular flat
Drawing shapes on dark background with white conte

Drawing shapes on dark background with white conte

After preparing the acrylic paper with a dark ground (Payne’s grey I drew in the shapes with a white conte stick using my paint brush to help as a measuring tool. The shapes weren’t precise but that wasn’t too important at this stage just as long as I had something to work from. As it turned out the shapes were well out and did need a lot of editing while I was painting.

From there I painted the highlights on the top of the knife so that I knew it was at the correct angle and painted in the candle and both halves of the orange in cadmium  orange (highlights in yellow), I could have done this differently. The best way would have been to model light by building the colour gradually  on top of the dark ground rather than blocking in the shapes then painting the shadows over the colour like I did.

Half way point

Half way point

From there I painted the chopping block with the same cadmium orange but used a lot more white and the darker parts in yellow ochre. The towel was painted in different mixes of light blue, Payne’s grey and white using a stippling effect with a small flat brush to create texture. Shadows on the board and orange were painted in a mix of Payne’s grey and chromium green in thin glazes. while the shadows on the table were painted in thin glazes of white and payne’s grey over the top of the dark ground.

It got interesting round about the half way point with objects painted but still very rough and very bright I had to think about the techniques and colours that I would use to tone down the painting as well as give the painting a dramatic feel as seen in Caravaggio’s paintings. It was here that I stopped looking at the still life composition and any photos I had taken just glimpsing from time to time, as painting as I saw it had negative effects, when I came to take a photo the colours were to bright or didn’t look right so I started to paint how I felt it should look. Burnt umber, Payne’s grey, pearl orange, yellow ochre and white became the key players.

Finished Piece for assignment 1

Finished Piece for assignment 1 – Before Burnt Umber background wash

Very thin washes of Payne’s grey helped me to tone down the orange of the candle and upright orange slice while yellow and white followed by a very thin glaze of the grey were used to make the orange pointing upwards look more like an orange. I used a scrumbling technique with very thin seperate layers of white, pearl orange and burnt umber to make the blue of the towel more subtle.

The board was probably the most challenging it was just too bright and I knew that it was the board that would make the painting if the board looked bad the rest of the picture would too. The brief said not to get wrapped up in any one object and too look at the painting as a whole but the board was a major part of the painting and so it needed to be right. I added thin layers of burnt umber over the orange mix and then used thicker layers to paint in the grain. I painted over the shadow with a layer close to the original orange/white mix, then a layer of green followed by washes of burnt umber and Payne’s grey. This was a vast improvement.

While sat here writing this entry and thinking that the painting is finished I have started looking at the photos I have been posting to this log again and realising something is not quite right. I have stayed as close to the original tone of the background as possible. The dark painted paper that I used for a background reflected light from the candle and that’s what I have tried to show here and I think that’s where I’ve gone wrong. Rather than depicting any background at all I should be depicting an absence of one to allow the viewer to make up their own mind to where the painting is set, whether it’s in a small room, large room or even a cave.

Caravaggio - Doubting Thomas

Caravaggio – Doubting Thomas

Caravaggio seems to use a brown tint in his background which allows the viewer to do this and so I have painted over the Payne’s grey background with a glaze of burnt umber and payne’s grey leaving the original colour around the candle to hopefully make it look like it is emitting light. Feedback from my tutor will hopefully let me know if I have been successful or not.

 

Things I am pleased with:

Method and technique

  • I managed to use most of the techniques I have learnt from starting the course plus a bunch of techniques from the drawing 1 course.
  • I didn’t rely on my eyes as I have done with most other exercises and assignments instead I went with how I felt it should look. Maybe this is the start of me developing a personal voice.
  • I particularly liked the way an oil pastel study gave me a good insight into which colours I would be using for acrylics. I didn’t question this and I’m glad because it worked.
  • Using washes and glazes in the painting was very interesting, years ago i would have repainted the subject if it was too bright, understanding how to use glazes has given me a push in the right direction.

The final piece:

  • I am very happy with the overall painting especially at this stage, it does have which I hoped it would a dramatic feel to it, even if it’s just a knife cutting an orange.
  •  I feel that the painting does show influences of the artists I researched for the Chiaroscuro particularly Caravaggio.
  • There are parts of the painting that I do feel exemplify the chiaroscuro technique really well particularly the knife handle resting on the blue towel. This is probably the best part of the picture.
  • The shadows particularly from the orange help to create a nice depth to the painting.
  • The texture of the hand towel could not be improved on to me this is perfect.
  • The brown tinted background – This really finishes the painting nicely. I may have been able to improve on the glow around the flame but I didn’t want it to strong but for now the tint of burnt umber helps to create a halo around the grey.

Things I am not happy with:

Method and Technique

  • For the life in me I couldn’t get the wax under the flame of the candle like it did.

The final piece

  • I couldn’t get the wax under the flame to glow like it did this would have probably  really improved the look of the painting.
  • The colours are a bit dull but any brighter didn’t look right at all so they had to be toned down.
  • The knife blade is out of shape but I couldn’t keep messing around with it for the objects around it.
  • Not sure if the blade looks twisted or not from the handle.
  • Too me the candle looks flat. I’m not sure what technique I should use to improve on this.
  • Not sure if the shadows of the board should be darker. I had a problem with the mix of greys and adding colour tints to them.

 

 

 

 

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Research Point 2 – Chiaroscuro

Caravaggio - John the Baptist

Caravaggio – John the Baptist

‘The term chiaroscuro (chiaro meaning light, scuro meaning dark) originated in the Renaissance when it referred to a technique .of drawing on coloured paper by building light tones with gouache and working down to dark tones with ink. It later came to refer to modeling of light in paintings, drawings and prints. The extreme contrast between dark and light areas allowed subtle graduations of tone to create illusions of volume, most notably that of the human form. Chiaroscuro became a common composition device in religious paintings such as those of Caravaggio.

‘Explore the works of some of the artists whose work exemplifies chiaroscuro effects such as Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Rubens. Look at the candlelit studies of some of the northern European artists, most especially Rembrandt and Joseph Wright of Derby. (Remember that until relatively recent, life was lived in pools of candlelight or firelight after the sun went down.) Make notes in your learning log.’

Titian Saint Jerome in the Desert

Titian Saint Jerome in the Desert

Towards the end of the 1500’s, with the new religious appreciations due to the Catholic Reformation, night scenes depicting the life and Passion of Christ became increasingly popular. The artist Titian embarked on a new technique which involved the disintegration of matter in light, particularly in night settings. He would continue to explore the dissolution of light through matter until the end of his days. The Next generation of artists would take over and perfect these dramatic effects of light and colour.

Night scenes would later become known as Nocturnes (a phrase coined by James Abbott McNeill Whistler). It describes a painting style that depicts reminiscent of the night  or subjects as they appear in a veil of light, candlelight, twilight, or in the absence of direct light.

Tintoretto - Lamentation over the Dead Chris

Tintoretto – Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Jacopo Tintoretto

Throughout his long career Jacopo Tintoretto dramatised his nocturnes by drenching them in heavenly lighting, with colours distorted by bold contrasts of light. These lively effects of lighting added drama to his stunning compositions.

Jacopo Tintoretto - The last Supper

Jacopo Tintoretto – The last Supper

Examples of this ‘supernatural lighting’ can be seen in both the Lamentation over the Dead Christ and the last supper where light is depicted coming from a source other than a natural one as to Titian’s St Jerome above which depicts natural moonlight.

Caravaggio

Before moving to Rome, Milanese painter Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano, a former student of Titian.

Caravaggio - Doubting Thomas

Caravaggio – Doubting Thomas

In Rome the Catholic church were in need of a stylish replacement to Mannerism in religious art, a move that they thought would help counter the threat of Protestantism (the counter-reformation), and so there was a demand for paintings to fill the many new churches and palatial buildings being built there.

Caravaggio revolutionized chiaroscuro with a radical form of naturalism combining close physical observations with a dramatic, somewhat theatrical, use of chiaroscuro this came to be known as ‘tenebrism’.

Caravaggio - Saint Jerome Writing

Caravaggio – Saint Jerome Writing

Looking at the paintings of the three artists above you can see the evolution of nocturnes and of course chiaroscuro as a major technique in night paintings. From works of Titian that used the background as an important part of the painting with figures whose forms didn’t wholly employ the technique that it would later become; to the paintings of Caravaggio who had pretty much perfected the technique, at least to where he need to be depicting up-close three dimensional compositions with a clear message that appear to almost leave the canvas.

Peter Paul Rubens

If the paintings of Caravaggio were a Drama then the paintings of  Flemish Baroque painter, Rubens would be a musical. Originally from Cologne in Germany, he was as a catholic by his mother in Antwerp, Belgium.

Peter Paul Rubens - The Fall of Phaeton

Peter Paul Rubens – The Fall of Phaeton

His paintings featured religious scenes in complicated and very dramatic compositions. Rubens became one of the leading voices for the Counter-Reformation style of painting and standing behind what he had worked so hard to ‘promote’ he stated, “My passion comes from the heavens, not from earthly musings”.

It is clear from his paintings that he was a man of faith, something was clearly moving him through these paintings, if not just belief.

Peter Paul Rubens - Adoration of the Magi

Peter Paul Rubens – Adoration of the Magi

Where Caravaggio painted close-up dramatic scenes of a biblical theme with detailed expressions and drapery Rubens’ painted religious scenes in action, depicting flowing drapery and strong movement in his figures, with complicated compositions with several main figures and even horses.

In a lot Rubens paintings it is very clear to me that he started on a dark background particularly in the two paintings that I chose here, ‘Adoration of the Magi’ and

Peter Paul Rubens - Night Scene

Peter Paul Rubens – Night Scene

‘Night Scene’ but then again I now know what I am looking for, to others that don’t,  they see every bit of the composition as if everything in the painting was completed in detail, what the eye doesn’t see, the brain fills in.

 Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Rembrandt)

For the best examples of chiaroscuro in Rembrandt’s paintings one needs to look no further than his self-portraits. Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self portraits in his lifetime. Of those one hundred self-portraits seven were drawings, thirty two were etchings and fifty were paintings. Included in those were candelit studies, painting by candle light.

Rembrandt - Self portrait 1657

Rembrandt – Self portrait 1657

Rembrandt’s candlelit studies are great examples of the use of chiaroscuro, I looked at several of his self portraits the technique but ‘Self Portrait 1657’ was one that really stood out, the reasons for this being that you can see how the face and highlights in the hair and hat have been painted building up the light tones on the dark background. I can imagine him painting it, where he started and can even guess some of the brush techniques that he used.

Joseph Wight of Derby 

The artist Joseph Wright of Derby was unknown to me, as an artist that is but is name was famiiar and when I did a search fore information about the artist I came across the Joseph Wright college and it clicked.

Joseph Wright of Deby - An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump

Joseph Wright of Deby – An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump

Wright is notable for his use of Chiaroscuro, and for his paintings of candle-lit subjects. His paintings of the birth of science out of alchemy, often based on the meetings of the Lunar Society, a group of very influential scientists and industrialists living in the English Midlands, are a significant record of the struggle of science against religious values in the period known as the Age of Enlightenment. – Wikipedia

Joseph Wright  did for the industrial revolution and science as Titian, Tintoretto and Caravaggio did for the counter-reformation, ‘using their own tool against them’ comes to mind. It’s ironic that using chiaroscuro effect was the best way he could describe the candlelit scenes of the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ when the chiaroscuro effect had been employed by so many earlier artists who had described religious scenes through their art. His style was very similar to Caravaggio but using more detailed, technical compositions and painting them from a distance. What makes his paintings different from earlier works however, his is exceptional use of shadows.

Bibliography:

http://mini-site.louvre.fr/venise/en/exhibition/holy_nights.html

http://www.wikipedia.com

 

Basic Paint Application 3 – Painting with Pastels

If you’ve got some pastels amongst your art materials, try this exercise.

Luckily for me I have just studied the OCA Drawing 1 Courseand so I have plenty of pastels, in fact I have so many because I have to keep buying boxes just for the white pastel.

Pastels are both a drawing and painting medium, and nowadays are used more in the latter category. The application of oil pastel and soft pastel is very different, particularly in relation to painting:

  • Oil pastel is usually used with turps and can be used to layer and blend.
  • Soft pastel picks up the tooth of the support and can be blended with paint using a damp cloth or brush and water scumbling techniques.

You can cover large areas with the side of a stick, lay one colour over another, and blend colours and tones. Use the points of the sticks for linear details. Practise making marks and blending with pastels; if you have time, use the techniques you’ve discovered to make a simple picture.

I was actually planning to just use oil pastels for this exercise as i the box of soft pastels that i have is a portrait box and yhere isn’t a great deal of contrasting colours in there. However, I decided to give this exercise a go with soft padtels first and the results were satisfying.

With the soft pastels I used a number of techniques, squiggles, hatching zig-zag, smudging, blending with a hard cotton bud ( I lost my tortillon in the move) and a new technique that I wish I had a name for and that was to blend a dark with a deep pink using a wet cloth and then to add lighter colours to the blend. The lighter colours sat on the top of the damp blend and could lightly be rubbed in with a finger or cotton bud. If I put pressure on while rubbing they would disappear into the darker blend below. The results can be seen in bottom right of the image below.

1 - Experimenting with Soft Pastels

1 – Experimenting with Soft Pastels

From there I wanted to use my new found technique which I still don’t have a name for in a simple picture, I was watching Peaky Blinders which gave me an idea, which I realised in the drawing below.

2 - A Simple Drawing with Soft Pastels

2 – A Simple Drawing with Soft Pastels

From there I went onto using oil pastels. I used mostly hatching techniques which was nothing new but what was new was how I blended in the hatching (with my finger). I found that by moving my finger across the hatched lines I could manipulate the oil pastel or drag it horizontally across the hatching. Other techniques I used were using the side of the sticks to cover bigger areas and then ‘dragging’ that into another colour as well as squirkling and blending with the cotton bud.

3 - Experimenting with Oil Pastels

3 – Experimenting with Oil Pastels

It was now time to create a simple picture with the oil pastels and I had something in mind but first it was time to christen my sketchbook. I chose a pose from the last part of the Drawing 1 Course which was actually quite a dramatic pose but I had only used squirkling with oil pastel and this was an opportunity to do more with it, luckily I held on to some photos that I took from that exercise Using Colour.

4 - Painting with Oil Pastels - Getting Familiar with the pose

4 – Painting with Oil Pastels – Getting Familiar with the pose

I picked out the simple details from the pose as I wasn’t working on massive sheets of paper so I needed to know I could recreate in oil pastels.

This time I used a 50/50 white spirit/linseed oil solvent with cotton balls and cotton buds to blend, something I had never done before and it was quite messy. Using this technique I found it quite difficult to get te colours right as lighter colours sat on top of the solvent and would not blend in, it is also taking a very long time to dry. I feel that it would have been better on a larger sheet of paper using my finger/cotton bud/tortillon to blend the colours like in the experimental stage above.

5 - Painting with Oil Pastels and Solvent Mixture

5 – Painting with Oil Pastels and Solvent Mixture

Basic Paint Application 2: Applying Paint without Brushes

Painting knives have been used for many centuries, usually in conjunction with brushes, but you can also complete whole paintings with just knives, which are sold in many sizes and shapes.if you don’t have one, use an ordinary palette well loaded with paint for your initial experiments.

I went out and purchased a painting knife for this exercise and I initially used acrylic paint with a medium gloss gel to thicken the paint.

Also try applying paint using old plastic credit cards, set squares and protractors, pieces of cardboard windscreen scrapers and plastic plastering tools. You can apply paint quite thinly with these and lay one colour over another so that the first layer remains visible. Don’t worry about creating a painting- just enjoy experimenting.

Unfortunately I am limited to what I can find here in Bangkok but I do have an old student union card as well as protractors and set squares.

Now try applying paint with sponges, rags, toothbrushes and your fingers. Sponges and toothbrushes are good for texture effects, and can be built up in layers or laid over flat colour. Rags and fingers are useful for blending one colour into another or wiping across the surface. This exercise is best done with oils as they dry slowly, giving you plenty of time to manipulate the paint.

I went out and bought a small pack of oil paints to use for my first bit of experimentation. I had some board that I have been using for backing board for my first assessment (drawing 1) so I decided to use the oils on that. I had learnt how to clear my mind and doodle in Drawing 1 so I decided to continue here.

Painting Knife

I started with black and white paint with a painting knife which I didn’t think was as controllable as I thought. I thought I would have more fun with this. I used the knife on the bottom and forgot to prep the support which seemed to absorb the paint so I covered the rest in Gesso.

Credit Card

Next I used my old student union card which I found was more controllable than the painting knife and that I could get better angles (flatter to the board) with it.

Bubble Wrap

This was the first time I used bubble wrap which I wrapped round a Vicks’ Jar to give me almost circular groups of prints with it. Later  would use a soap box which gave me a large square of prints that was better for covering bigger areas.

Sponge

I have yet to find a natural sponge. I did used a synthetic sponge on it which gave me the same texture as a cloth.

Protractor

I loved using the protractor but I found I had to either put loads of paint on it or move the protractor in a wave like motion on the surface so that the whole edge would touch the surface. By then dragging this down I could make a fan like pattern.

 

1 - Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

1 – Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

More Experimentation

For me that was my first bit of oil painting done and what I learnt from it was that I had to learn how to mix better so. So from there instead of wasting more oil paint I decided to continue with the acrylics and medium gloss gel instead.

I had seen how these looked together separately on the same support now it was time to see how they could interact with each other and so the next ‘doodle’ was a result of finger painting over painting knife and then bubble wrap and protractor over the top. This tyime I made circles with the protractor.

2 - Experimenting with Fingers Student card and Protractor

2 – Experimenting with Painting Knife and Protractor

 

3 - Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

3 – Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

Toothbrush

Reading the brief again I realized I had overlooked the toothbrush, so with a flat toothbrush I set out to recreate the same landscape I attempted in the last exercise, Getting to Know your Brushes, personally I prefer the toothbrush landscape below

4 - Painting with a Toothrush

4 – Painting with a Toothrush

Bubble Wrap over a Square Object

As I said above I wrapped the bubble wrap around a soap box for more experimenting, the result of which can be seen below which I tonally graded by letting the paint fade into the middle and then used a close paint colour at the other end of the paper.

5 - Applying Paint with Bubble Wrap

5 – Applying Paint with Bubble Wraparound a soap box

6 - Applying Paint with Painting Knife

6 – Applying Paint with Painting Knife

7 - Applying Paint ewith Fingers

7 – Applying Paint ewith Fingers

8 - Applying Paint with Student Card

8 – Applying Paint with Student Card

My preferred painting tools from this exercise are definitely the credit card as to the paintng knife as well as fingers and bubble wrap.

 

 

Basic Paint Application – Getting to know your brushes

I had no prior knowledge of paintng brushes or their names before this exercise. I had only ever used a cheap round synthetic brush for stippling.

The brief for this exercise:

Part A : Start by exploring the range of marks and shapes that can be made with your brushes, make marks of different sizes, using flats, rounds and filberts.

materials used:

  • Canson XL Mixed media pad (about A4)
  • Gesso
  • Hog Bristle brushes
  • Synthetic Brushes
  • Reeves acrylic paints

After researching the names of the brushes online I then went out to purchase some, Ito start I bought hog bristle thinking they would be the best but after this first part of this exercise on recommendation by an artist friend I went back and invested a bit more money in synthetic.

For this part of the exercise I used flat, angle, fan, bright, round and filbert brushes and acrylic paint and three sheets of Gesso prepared mixed media paper.

The first sheet in blue was basically my first attempt at getting to know the length, width and type of stroke I could get from each type of brush and I did use every type of brush I had at my disposal as I had never used any of these types of brushes before. On the next two sheets in brilliant red I looked more into what marks I could make with each brush.

I found that the main brushes made the following types of strokes:

  • The ‘Flat’ brush made strong long strokes.
  • The ‘Bright’ creates short controlled thick strokes.
  • The ‘Filbert’ can create short round, flat, thin and pointed strokes.
  • The ‘Round’ brush good for thin to thick strokes depending on how much pressure is applied
  • The ‘Fan I thought this would be good for texture like leaves on trees and clouds but I think I need to find a synthetic fan as the hog bristle was a bit disappointing.
Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Third Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Third Experiment

From there I focused on the both synthetic and hog bristle Flat, Round and Filbert brushes in and with just these three brushes I made a wide variety of marks with short strokes, long strokes and by applying more or less pressure and different parts of the brushes to the paper.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Part B : Then, from Memory, paint a small simple landscape (about A4). Use large brushes so you won’t be distracted by the urge to include detail; instead, concentrate on the possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes.

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory

I live in Bangkok and don’t get to see much country landscapes and throughout the Drawing 1 Course I drew most of my landscapes, bar one, in a park close by so the painting above, was from memory, from my 360 degrees studies. I concentrated on possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes but these happened in the background as to the fore or middle-ground and with the fan and flat more than the other brushes that I use on this exercise which were a hog bristle medium wide, flat, filbert and fan although the smaller filbert was good for the leaves on the trees.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory 2

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory 2

i decided to have another go at this part of the exercise, with synthetic brushes. Again from memory, from the same exercise 360 degrees studies, facing West. Looking at the original drawing in charcoal afterwards it is nothing like but it did give me chance to concentrate more on possibilities and patterns made by the brush marks.

I had more control with the synthetic brushes and found that the edge of the flat was great for grass, tree trunks, the filbert was good for shading as well as the curved form of the branches. This time I used a synthetic fan, which I think was for watercolour, and by using grass green at one end and lime yellow at the other I was able to depict the light shining off the trees and by fanning in a circular motion was able to give the trees more body.

Part C :  Once you have experimented, paint a piece of fruit, using the techniques, taking care to set the fruit in direct light to help define the form.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 - Painting Fruit

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 – Painting Fruit

Originally I bought four bananas for this part of the exercise but by the time I got round to it they had gone off in the heat of my kitchen so I used a pineapple I bought the day before. Because it was evening I directed a bendy lamp at it so I could define the form. I used a lot of the techniques that I had learnt above plus a few new ones but I used the Flat, Angular and Filbert mostly on this. I am glad I didn’t use the glossy gel on this as the flat matt acrylic paint makes the pineapple look almost stone like and even though I didn’t do an amazing job on the leaves they only add to the stone feel.