Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I give my students an exercise which really helps them with their brushwork.
Use the surface you usually paint on, like canvas, masonite or matboard. Grid the surface into 6 or 8 sections. Use a dark colored paint and coat it fairly thickly. Then use a light colored paint to practice doing brushwork over the dark back ground.
The object of the exercise is to lay the paint on the surface without blending into the bottom layer of dark paint. You want to practice keeping color clean and not disturbing the values. This will help you to learn to keep crisp clean color and edge work in your painting process. It is especially important for alla prima work.
You can experiment with different values too while you are laying on the paint. You need to try different shapes, angles, different sized brushes, pretending to do foliage, stems, branches for trees, hard edge work like architectural shapes, etc. just as you would do on a real painting, but you are using simple shapes and colors in small spaces.
Believe me, this will really help you to learn paint manipulation and brushwork, especially when you paint alla prima with oils.