Monday, January 28, 2013

Let Gravity Be Your Painting Friend

Last week I went to my painting lesson as usual.  I'm currently working on a winter scene that contains a number of bare trees.  I am actually painting from a reference photograph that taken by a fellow artists and Facebook friend, Clive Hughes.  I fell in love with the reflection and the bright sun rays and graciously he granted me permission to use his photo.

Reference Photo taken by Irish artist, Clive Hughes

I am in the place in my painting where I need to add the small fine branches for the background, so I grabbed the small script brush and started to paint away.  I had only made a few lines when I heard my painting instructor, Lily Adamczyk give a loud statement about the way I was holding my brush the wrong way.  My painting lessons are often a humbling learning process because it seems almost every lesson brings to light something that I am not doing correctly.

I was holding my brush more as you would a pen.  Far down on the handle near the bristles.  According to Lily, I need to hold my brushes more to the end of the handle so that I can allow for a more freedom of movement, letting the paint actually do the work.  The result will be a more natural looking branch because small branch detail should not be rigid or uniform.  Another helpful technique is to actually paint the small branches with the canvas turned upside down.  This allows gravity to actually assist you with the loose, free movement that you need to make realistic branches.
Current state of my WIP painting that I am doing from the above reference photo at my painting lesson

To reinforce what I have learned I had the perfect picture to come home and work on because there was actually painting a woodland snow scene full of bare trees that is a WIP on my easel.

A portion of my WIP painting that shows the lack of fine branch detail

Holding my brush the WRONG way!

Example of the correct way to hold the brush to get the loose fluid movement needed for the fine branch detail.  The canvas flipped upside down can also be a helpful technique.  This allows gravity to help your brush movement.

Additional small branches add to fill in the tree using the technique that Lily taught me

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