Choosing the right brush size and shape can be a big decision when you are just starting out as a painter.
In my opinion, size does matter – especially if you are painting a big canvas, I recommend you start with a big brush.
Different Brushes Sampler
The shape of the brush matters too – to understand what each brush can do and the marks they can make painting a sampler can really help you get familiar with what each brush can do.
Try them out and see what kinds of marks they can do.
Pulling the brush in different directions, or twisting the brush makes such a difference.
Different Directions Brush Sampler
The more miles on the brush you do, the more you will understand what size and what shape will work best for what you are trying to achieve in your painting.
One Brush – Many Different Marks
I suggest you try different brands if you can, and look for a brush that holds its shape after a few uses.
Really, anything goes!
My only “don’t” is don’t use watercolour brushes for acrylic. In my experience they just won’t hold their shape. And I often use brushes marked as ‘acrylic’ for watercolour – it’s my personal preference.
Get some miles on some brushes and you’re bound to find your personal preference too.
You know I do love a dragonfly or two. Their little, elegant wings add movement to a garden and a ‘special something’ to a flower painting.
My stylised dragonflies are simply five lines – a slightly curved body (place and pull your brush), then two sets of wings – a tight V on each side, painted from the outside in (remember to move your whole wrist to pull each stroke towards the body). The top wing is usually a lot longer than the bottom wing and the head is small (if it’s too big, plastic surgery may be required 🙂 ).
If you’ve been to a Paint Along and struggled with dragonflies, or if you haven’t been to a Paint Along but you’d like to try some dragonflies, click here for a downloadable practice sheet, just for you.
I love watching artists paint. I think it’s magical. The way they see things inside their heads and then choose colours and brushes to bring that vision to life.
Just last week I managed to spend some time alone in my studio painting these flowers in delicious, juicy, GOLDEN Paint colours. And just in case you like watching artists too – I actually remembered to document the process!
Starting with a gorgeous natural linen canvas, I sketched my plan in charcoal before building up the background using large brushes and then progressively adding detail with smaller brushes.
Hope you enjoy this window into the evolution of this painting I have called ‘The Everlasting Bouquet’. I’ll have it available for sale soon… I’m just enjoying looking at it for a while first!
(I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT HOW TO MOVE THIS GIF FILE FROM MY OLD WEBSITE – STAY TUNED!)