I want to pause briefly and look at the brushwork in some Franz Hals paintings. It is this brushwork that made him so popular with the late 19th century painters. Like Velazquez he was studied as an inspiration by alla prima painters who sought to learn expressive powerful brushwork. Above is a painting called The Gypsy Girl. Hals had obviously been looking at Rembrandt before he did this and there is something Rembrandt like to both the paint handling and the subject matter.
Here is a close up of the cleavo-bodice area. Notice that strap where her jumper goes over her shoulder, that is mostly a stain on the canvas, it appears very thin. I am looking at the reproduction, I wish I had the real thing in front of me, but I don't, so I will do what I can from seeing the image on my screen.
The blouse is just the opposite, it is thickly painted, probably partly with a knife. The thinly stained passage and the thickly troweled blouse are juxtaposed, so that each calls attention to the other. There are a lot of very soft edges going on here too. Had he hardened them up the passage would not have worked as well. The soft blur makes the roughly painted passages seem more believable. His lack of detail is partly concealed by the out of focus look of the area. Notice also the play of warm and cool notes in the blouse. That gives a flickering vibration in much the same way that a later painter might with divisionist color.
Here is our gypsy girls head. Notice the edges on the left side of the jaw, and then compare them to the edges on the right side of the jaw. The contrast in edge delineation gives variety to the lines. The softened edges on the left side pushes the softly turning edges of her jaw back into space behind the more carefully delineated lips and nose, which are closer to the viewer and more important to the likeness. See how he has used square brushstrokes to build the bony structure about the eyes. Each plane in there is represented by a geometrically shaped stroke that expresses its unique shape. This was installed into the painting by Hals, not dumbly transcribed from cold observation.. He knew how the structure worked and explained it in a simplified exposition.
The Laughing Cavalier is another tour de force of brushwork. Below is a closeup of the collar and sash. Notice the handling in the sash. There is really nothing there, but it says sash when you look at it from a certain distance. That is part of why bravura handling is so entertaining, A kind of game is going on between the artist and the viewer. At one look it is just splotches and scrapes of paint and the next instant it is an utterly convincing sash. It is paint, it is a sash. Magic!
Below is a detail of the sleeve and what must be the pommel of his sword handle. Look at the rough way that and the cuff below it is painted. All of that detail in the embroidery on his sleeve is an amazing piece of work. I am guessing that did not go down in one shot, but had to be studied out in several overpaintings.