Which Brush is Best?

Which Brush is Best?

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.

Anna

Purple Rain in my studio

Purple Rain in my studio

I just realised that I hadn’t yet shared the timelapse of one of my recent paintings, ‘Purple Rain’. 

I was painting on the day Prince died, and while I was planning to do ‘all the colours’, for this one, purple flowers with gold foil berries seemed appropriate.

This painting has been varnished and is now available for sale on my website here and is similar to the style of painting I’ll be teaching at the McGregor Spring School in Toowoomba in September.

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

It’s been a long time since I’ve bought wrapping paper… and I find it almost impossible to throw away bags and boxes that I ‘just might’ find a use for. So in the interest of decluttering let me guide you through the creation of these truly unique gift bags and boxes.

Firstly, you’ll need some bags and boxes to upcycle. I LOVE Apple packaging, and it’s best to paint over all the imagery on them so you don’t get your recipient’s hopes up (unless you truly are giving them and iPad of course!). I’ve also used a couple of simple bags and a post box with some interesting Ukrainian leaf stamps (thank you Etsy!).

If there are stamps or interesting things or images on your bags and boxes, make sure they’re stuck on well. I’ve used some Golden Gel Medium to adhere the stamps well, but PVA or a glue stick would also do the job for this project. (The leaves on these stamps inspired the pattern I ended up painting onto this box.)

Choose your colours and paint over the text and logos – I’ve used Teal + White, Hansa Yellow + White and Magenta + White. By adding the white to each colour I’ve made the paint more opaque/less transparent, and more likely to do a good job of covering the bits I want to disguise.

Then using a paint pen or brush, start adding some patterned detail. You can also use stencils, more collage, pencils or sharpie markers. Be inspired by the patterns around you – fabrics, cushions, even all those new colouring in books that seem to be everywhere at the moment, can all be sources of pattern inspiration.

Here I googled ‘woodblock’ images and started with this paisley pattern inspiration.

For this bag I used acrylics to sketch on a loose wreath especially for Christmas.

Now, whether they go under a tree or in the mail, know that your packaging is as much a gift as what’s inside. Do a few at a time so you’ve always got a bag or box handy.

Fun, huh? I’d love to see what you make! Share with me on instagram or facebook – #shinyhappyart

DIY Dragonfly

DIY Dragonfly

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.

Happy Easter!

Evolution of a painting

Evolution of a painting

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!)