Brush Story Part 2

30, January 2014 § 2 Comments

In the spirit of sharing our brush stories here are some of my own.  This post will focus on my watercolor and ink brushes.  You can follow Aegean Center for the Fine Arts painting teacher Jane Pack’s brush stories here.

I get very attached to my brushes. Like actors in a play each brush has its own role. Some are used far more frequently than others, but if I’m missing a specific brush for a specific task I may just scrap the piece altogether. When a brush starts to wear down or even fall apart it can bring an irrational amount of stress and dismay. At times I talk to my brushes like a coach would to his players, alright kiddo, go out there and get the job done. What can I say, they are more than just tools, they’re the means to express myself. I usually take them for granted but I love my brushes. Here are some descriptions of my main team.
-Jun-Pierre Shiozawa

Brushes

“The Hake”
A 1 inch Hake brush.  Soft and wide, it’s great for washes: skies and seas. The softer the brush the easier it is to move a watery wash over the the paper without affecting the surface.

“Big Timer”
A goathair Chinese ink brush. It’s a very versatile brush, useful for washes and moving the color into small tight corners: negative space!

“T.C.O.B.”
My Taking Care Of Business brush.  Like “Big Timer” another Chinese ink brush, but because of it’s smaller size I use it very often for washes, tight detail work,  and just about everything else.  I could do a whole painting just with this brush.

“Tree top” 
I love using this brush–The point can get very fine and the bristles splay out in a very natural manner, perfect for leaves, water, rocks, hair, etc.

“Eraser brush”
A half inch square brush with a firm shape and bristles.  I mostly use this brush to lift color off the painting.  Useful for editing and lightening up a passage of color.

“Fine Line”
A plastic brush with synthetic bristles that you could fill up with water.  Holds a great shape and makes a very thin line.  Very effective for detail work.

“Rigger”
I never use this brush but I like that I have it.  Rigger brushes are traditionally used to paint the riggings of boats in maritime paintings.

“The Colonel”
A round brush that I once used very often but has since been worn down a bit. I almost never use it  anymore but when I go out to paint I always have to bring it out of habit.

Do you have brushes that you love? Share them with us on Twitter, @aegeancenter, #brushstory.

Brush story

24, January 2014 § 2 Comments

brushesj

Every painter has their favorites. Here are Jane Morris Pack’s:

1. This soft flat is my favorite glazing brush. I often cover a large area with a transparent color and it can apply the tone without brush strokes if you flip it quickly back and forth.

2. My favorite Nepalese brush had a weak ferrule. It was given to me by a fellow travelling artist and bought in Katmandu.

3. A great scrubbing brush almost down to the end. Who doesn’t have pieces of hair trapped in the paint? See the eyes in Durer’s self portrait.

4. A luscious softy. I couldn’t resist it. I’m saving it for some future project.

5. I always clean the brush but not always the handle. Hog bristles don’t like water so better to clean them with just solvent.

6. Square flat brushes have only been around since the Industrial Age. They are great for getting those corners and creating angular forms. Most paintings could use a few more sharp corners.

Do you have brushes that you love? Share them with us on Twitter, @aegeancenter, #brushstory.

Technology and the Painter’s Studio

15, January 2014 § Leave a comment

ipad-painting

by Jane Morris Pack

Technological advances have changed the world of photography in recent years and given its practitioners an incredible tool box of options. The history palette in Photoshop makes it possible to maintain a record of adjustments. Since every decision is reversible it enables the photographer to try out several versions, nuanced or radical, to enhance the photograph.

Painters haven’t been able to benefit from these advances but they can have something of the same convenience with an iPad or smartphone.  Taking pictures and recording the various stages of your work make it easy to see whether the latest application of paint was an improvement or not.  We can’t simply push the button to undo but at least we can wipe paint off.  But perhaps of equal interest is the editing tool within the photo program.  On the iPad you can choose a filter option at the bottom of the screen and turn any color painting into black and white. This tool gives you an instant readout of your tonal range; if you have neglected the mid tones, or the whites are too dim, it will tell you.  It would benefit beginning painters to take a snapshot of their subject and their painting and turn both into black and white studies and compare the two.  Finding the mid tones is often the most difficult task for the beginner painter.  With the ability to focus on various depths it is even possible to get your iPad to take an out of focus picture and this is a great device for seeing the overall blur of color range without detail.

I am not advocating turning the human eye and mind into a camera, which seems to be the goal of many of the super realists I see today.  I am more interested in the personal human vision with its quirkiness and ability to select and emphasize.  Even so, the attainment of clear tones with subtlety and range is a large part of the beauty of oil painting.

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