Jun 3, 2009
Application of Paint
By Sharon Teal-Coray
No matter what medium you are using, your application of paint is one of the most important elements of a good painting.
You need to be in total “command” of your brush. You need to practice getting just the right amount of paint to come off your brush; and what to do with it when it does! This is for all artists from fine to decorative! You must learn the “feel” of the paint on the brush. How much you need for a thin or thick application. How it will respond to the surface.
You need to learn how to hold your brush loaded with paint and still make a sensitive stroke so almost no paint comes off. Or apply a heavy stroke that has feeling or shows direction!
You need to make each paint stroke describe an intention. Always think before you use your brush. What do you want to convey.
Paint can be applied in long flowing movements, chiseling fashion, short choppy movements, but you must always use the stroke the best describes the surface you are painting.
When you start to paint, begin seriously; don’t go about it in a slapdash way, carelessly applying the paint. If you start this way you will find it is difficult to move into a more refined detailed painting later, if that is the direction you want to take.
Never scrub the paint into the canvas, make sure you have lots of paint on your brush! Apply it, blend it a bit and leave it alone, don’t keep messing around with it. I have had students make the most wonderful strokes but because they didn’t realize the importance of spontaneity they kept working them until they had a muddy mess.
Always pay attention to each brushstroke, every square inch on your canvas or project is just as important as the other. If you apply messy strokes in one area and then paint the rest of the painting with lots of care, the messy ones will always be there to haunt you.
Many times my students were so eager to get to the focal point of their paintings that they would rush the background or the secondary objects leaving them looking “unfinished”. Then when they had finally finished the whole painting they were not satisfied…and they didn’t know why. Then after examining their work and seeing how some areas were not painted with skill, they immediately understood why they didn’t like them.
The proper application of paint is done with the right brushes; you want a brush that will do exactly what you want it to do, instantly. Don’t think you can accomplish something done with a great brush by using an inferior tool. It won’t work and never has.
I had a lady come to my class years ago; this was her first class and with her came a huge assortment of brushes that were intended for painting a house! She wanted me to teach her how to do landscapes that had lots of detail in them…. she had been watching a popular T.V. artist, but she wanted to paint like me. The first thing she learned was that the brushes she had would not capture the fine detail she wanted. She had wasted lots of money on those brushes and was not too happy about buying new ones. This was something I had to face on a regular basis in my classroom. I carried a full line of brushes in my Academy, and I found that a lot of people who came to my class would come in with the cheapest brushes they could find. The only way I could really convince them that I was not just trying to sell them my brushes was to carry a pocketful of the ones I knew they would need when I showed them a way to paint something. After they had struggled a bit with their brushes, I handed them one of mine and told them to just try it. They would immediately see the huge difference and get up and go and purchase one. It was never about selling them mine, but selling them the one that would do the job and make life easier for them and for me!!! So no matter what medium you use, the rule is: buy the best brush and take care of it, you will never regret that purchase.
When applying your paint know that there are two essential types of brushstrokes, one to create form and the other to create direction.
When you apply your brush to your surface make that stroke count…. no matter what you are painting remember that each stroke is just as important as the next. Apply you paint with skill by practicing control of your brush. Don’t be afraid to apply the paint; don’t be timid with your strokes!