- The brushstroke may obscure the form. Think of this as a basket weave pattern, or a flurry of small strokes. There are times when an artist wants to describe form and there are times to obscure it.The Monet above is painted with a "woven" brushstroke. The shimmering strokes dissolve the edges and give the whole thing a gauzy mysterious beauty. By reducing the focus and subordinating the detail Monet gets poetry, The Monet above has almost no edges at all. Had he tightened it all up , the painting would have been matter of fact.
- The brushstroke may be a pointille dot. That is a small spot of paint placed usually as an accent, nearly round or squarish in shape, but not greatly elongated. Usually a painting is not made out of these but they are a decorative accent within a painting.
Pointille is always pointed out in Vermeer, he used it extensively, but plenty of others have as well. It is because of these that some contemporary critics have suggested Vermeer used a camera obscura. That's a sort of primitive camera that captures an image for viewing but not onto film. Perhaps he did. But you can't make a Vermeer by acquiring a camera obscura. Pointille are great for accents. sparkle on water, jewelry, and eyeballs. Pointillism is the practice of making an entire picture out of pointille. Don't.
As I am writing this I realize there are still some sorts of brushstrokes to mention, for instance the slashing quill like brushstroke that Sargent sometimes employed. Here's an example of that in the foreground of his painting of Paul Helleu sketching with his wife.
Oh, and I suppose I could throw in a Seago, for its dragged dry brushstroke over a rough ground that I have pointed out before. Click on it and you should be able to see it large enough so you can see that dragged stroke. I did a number of posts on Seago that go into that in depth. I love that guy!
© The Estate of Edward Seago, courtesy of Portland Gallery www.portlandgallery.com
EVERY TIME YOU PUT A STROKE ON THAT CANVAS, YOU HAVE TO STOP AND CONSIDER HOW THE EDGE SHOULD BE HANDLED!
I have written extensively on handling edges and you might want to go back and read those posts. But the important thing to get from this post is the idea that you check your edges as you make your brushstrokes.Automatically. Develop the habit so you dfon't have to remember to do it.
Here is the checklist. Every time the brush touches the canvas you must think about the following things.
- 1) Is this brushstroke in the right place?
- 2) Is it in the light or is it in the shadow?
- 3) Is it the right value?
- 4) Is it the right color?
- 5) Is it the the right chroma, that is, is it too saturated or is it too grave?
- 6) Is the temperature of the color correct, is it too warm or is it too cool?
- 7) Should the brushstroke be be visible or invisible?
- 8) Should the brushstroke run along, across, or obscure the form?
- 9) Is the edge painted correctly?
Well that's enough of that! I will start something new tomorrow.
Edward Seago painting from: Edward Seago, the vintage years by Ron Ranson, available from Amazon .