Friday, February 3, 2012

Brushwork where to start

I've mentioned before that all my university art school training was in abstract art, and until the last 7 years that's mainly what I did. Seascape is the best place for an abstract artist in representational work. The place where both collide like the sea on a rock. 
Todays topic is brush work. We've all heard the term, and I even have the book Brushwork Essentials which gave me some idea there was such a thing. Only lately have I begun to get it going in my own work.  Paying attention to it in yours it can help you to create higher level work.

First notice that each of us has a different "touch" our unique signature, we don't want that to change but to grow, on the other hand we want to make it conscious, to make our hand do what we intend, and not wander off unattended dabbing away. So the first step is to notice that you ARE mindlessly dabbing because you don't know what to do, or your mind has taken a side trip into the past or future. What to eat for dinner, or any other of the 60,000 thoughts they say we think each day. When you notice mindless dabbing just stop painting, redirect your mind to the thing in front of you, find your place and begin again. Staying present is easier if you use physical cues, the sound of the brush, movement of your arm, and then let go, your body knows how to paint if you let it. But slow down, you are not Bob Ross sloshing across the canvas( unless you want that rush of just slapping things on, it's ok sometimes, but seldom gets really great results in brushwork) You are the conductor of the music, choosing violins, here a crashing symbol there a pluck of the harp string, bringing out the music, you are not some dude on a platform waving your arms around, looking like a "painter" but not producing music. 
For the finest example of this watch a Richard Schmid vid. Here he is after decades of work still breathless with the beauty of a single brushstroke of just the right color in the right place. So inspiring, and watch how carefully he places each touch, no dabbing away there, yet still freely done, taking advantage of "accidents" ( room for the subconscious and right brain to work)

Next work make being aware of dabbing away your first priority, start to place your strokes and colors put them down and leave them, stop scrubbing one color into another ( except for the first lay in if you do that) and place them side by side, if you blend do it after they are down...See if that wakes up your work and starts to make not just objects but a beautiful surface as well. 

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