Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paint With a Brush?

Trick title right? Of course you paint with a brush. Well maybe; but one of the things that bothered me about the painting in my last post of the Lesser Yellowlegs and the lily pads was that it was a little too close to paint by number. I first drew in all the shapes and then colored them in. There was very little variety in types of brushstroke. In fact you could barely see any brushstrokes.

So in a brief 15-20 minutes last night and another this morning I decided to experiment with two watercolors that were done only with a brush, including the preliminary drawing.

They are Savannah Sparrows, seen at Brigantine NWR in October of 2009. They are based on photos I took. My intent was to try to force myself to use the brush more creatively, to take advantage of all it could do, and not just use it to color in shapes.

To a large extent I did that with the sparrows, though I did lose a lot of the detail that I'd hoped to show. But I didn't do it at all with the background. I think I should have gone for a bit more detail there and not so much impressionistic washes.

Still I'm happy with them. I think it's a start in the right direction, at least for me, with watercolor. If you paint the preliminary sketch with a brush it's a much easier transition to also using the brush for shape. It's a very natural flow.

I have to add that I also wanted to try this very beautiful sparrow, as so many of them are. But the detail always scared me off. For some reason knowing that I'd do it with a brush, and therefore just couldn't get too lost in detail, made it seem less intimidating.

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