Welcome to my Art Blog! I paint or draw most weekdays and sometimes finish a painting a day. I fondly call them my "Postcards from Paradise" because it's such a beautiful place the Lord made here for us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Painting Challenge: Use Only a 1/2" Brush

October's Challenge, named by new member Aaron Cordell Johnson, is to "create your entire painting using one brush 1/2 inch in size on a 6"x8" inch canvas."

I dreaded this one more than usual but knew it would be good for me to use a big brush to force me to simplify. Now, I often use bigger brushes for large areas, even on small paintings, but for detail I typically switch to a smaller brush for control.

A half inch brush turns out to be a number 6 bristle brush by my measurement. I must say I like using the bigger brush, if you don't count tool clumsiness and more paint to clean out.

I suppose I could get used to it. However, I'm not getting rid of my 2s or 4s anytime soon. I sure was tempted to use at least one on the hay bales, especially that smallest one in the distance. But I didn't.

"Bright Bales"
Original oil on hardboard
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin


I'm so impressed by what the rest of the Group did for this test of skill and patience. The freshness of those large brush strokes makes the paintings so interesting, don't you think?

(below left) "Facing the Morning Sun" Oil on panel, 6"x8" ©2010 Robin Cheers(below right) "Onion" Oil on canvas, 6"x8" ©2010 Aaron Cordell Johnson

(below left) "Bling Pouch" Oil on canvas, 6"x6" ©2010 Suzanne Berry(below right) "Still Life" Oil on canvas, 8"x6" ©2010 Vicki Ross


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

These are all good but I'm loving that horse! Talk about brevity.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

I thought so too, Mary. Seeing what Robin did with that horse was instructive and inspiring!

LensVerse said...

Nice! Are there any benefits in using only a one-size brush, or is it just to make it more challenging?

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thanks for asking, Juan. There are indeed some good reasons for using a big brush, or only one brush.

An obvious reason is coverage ability; laying down colours with a large brush takes less time than with a smaller brush. Think of house painting: covering walls with a tiny brush would take a really long time.

Additionally, a larger brush usually makes for looser brush strokes, which can make a painting interesting and vibrant. Robin's painting of the horse demonstrates this well.

I think one of the points about the October Challenge is to simplify, which is good for someone like me who tends to want to paint in every element. Too much detail in a painting can simply be too much.

The point of using only one brush is that there is only one brush to clean. Many artists use several brushes to keep darks and lights, cool colors and bright colors separate. This makes for more clean up at the end of a painting session, but has advantages while working.

Painting with only one brush mixes the colors more, especially if the artist doesn't completely clean the brush when going back and forth between colors. Personally, I don't like this so much, because I find it frustrating to dirty up a clean color with something I don't want.

suzanneberry said...

Amazing painting my friend. I love the feeling your landscapes capture, the field is empty but it feels full of love. and today's DP is stunning!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Suzanne, your statement, "the field is empty but it feels full of love" made me smile. How satisfying to know that my feelings for this spot (our own hay fields) somehow transferred through that big ol' brush to you, the viewer.

You've made my day, Lady. Happy painting!

hmuxo said...

Love all your paintings Diana but I especially love that landscape ..open field with the hay bales and mountains in the distance. It reminds me of one of our amazing trips to Wyoming...

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thanks, Hilda. Wyoming does indeed have some beautiful country. I especially like the Jackson Hole area.

Yolanda Barker said...

All beautiful. The horse is my favourite too!


Diana Moses Botkin said...

I love Robin's horse, too, Yolanda.... makes me want to do some more of these big brush paintings.


Interesting and fun challenge! Wish I could've done this one -- still too busy w/ pet portraits. Great joy everyone!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Yes we missed you Jeanne! However we totally understand you needing to do your commissions. It's always good to get paid for working!