Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Apple Trio and Techniques

Apple Trio

6x8'' oil on canvas panel   $125. SOLD

Here is a combination of some of the exercises and
techniques from yesterdays and today's post.

To continue...
Yesterday I went over different  ways to think about
doing edges and today I start on techniques.
Technique is how you choose to lay your paint down
(make your mark) no matter what media you use.
Just like your signature - it is unique to you.
Unfortunately, many of us do not get to experience
the many different methods available to enable us
to experiment and find our own way. This is especially
true for those coming into art at a mature age.
Workshops are available and most communities have
classes, but then you can find yourself painting exactly the
same way as the rest of the group. If everyone painted
the same view in a class of impressionists, for example,
many of the pieces would have a very similar appearance.
If this does not bother you then that
is perfectly fine, but if you do have a desire and the niggle
at the back of your mind that you would like to try something
different, then I would recommend taking ONE of the following
methods and try doing it, and nothing else for a week.
It would be good to do at least one hour a day.
Pick the one which appeals to you the most.
Don't give up if it is not easy. I advise you NOT to show
anyone else what you are doing unless you have a friend
trying a different one. Email me if you have a problem.
My email address is on the right bar of my blog.
Here goes.

#1 EXPRESSIVE BRUSH MARKS. click to enlarge if needed.
I am showing two examples of using a short handle
angle brush with a fast, light movement to place the paint on.
Stiff paint will not work, and too wet can be a problem also.
The texture of butter is about right.
Going over and outside the edge is desirable in this method,
and you can choose how much you want to tidy-up by
coming back in . It may help to have a drawing underneath.
Get a washable marker to draw and then it is easy to
make corrections.
The way I do a fast stroke is to move my hand from my elbow
but if you think about swatting a fly, that is about the speed
you need. Scary eh!!!!

Fast Strokes


This one gives lovely atmospheric ways of losing edges.
Look into the Tonal School of Painting for examples,
especially in landscapes.
I place the paint on with a brush making sure there is
enough to be able to move around. I am careful to leave
a thin space around each area of color. Trial and error will
show how much.
I then take the back, flat part of a trowel shaped palette
knife and do circular movements using the wide, flat base
and not the tip, for mushing the paint
around so the colors blend into each other. The colors
have a magical way of staying true with this method.
Unlike how muddy they would get if you used a brush.
I know mushing isn't a technical sounding term, but
I do think it explains what I mean. The whole painting
cannot be mushy, remember to have a focal point
using the principles from yesterday - just not that sharp!


I will show some more in my next post.
Happy painting!

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  1. Great tips for those who paint in oils and maybe acrylics too? I'm even learning a bit that might help me in the watercolors. Thank you Julie. The trio of apples are so wonderful. They remind me of those gorgeously packaged fruits...

    1. The same principles apply for all media. I have used some of them in watercolor. The swift stroke with an angle brush is perfect in watercolor and I used the bowl of a teaspoon to smudge and blend my edges in watercolor. A knife edge can mark the paper. Turner (English) played around with Chinese White in his watercolor sketches and used the bowl of a spoon to merge them into his neighboring colors a little bit. Experiment - it will set you free.

  2. Thank you Julie! Now I'm not going to get any cooking done for Thanksgiving because I'll be trying out your exercises! Love your teaching posts.

    1. Your Tuscan chicken has already been printed out. It reads like it is the perfect blend of flavors we like.
      Thanks for the nice comment.

  3. Thank you for your clear lessons..and so generous too!
    All what I need after feeling flat for many reasons. Monique Shaw

  4. Beautifull! Thank you for all your clear and generous lessons, they make you want to carry on even when very low.Monique Shaw

    1. What a lovely comment - thanks Monique. I visited your blog and like the quince and orange paintings VERY much!

  5. Great way of explaining technique Julie, very clear, great visuals, well done!

    1. Coming from a teacher - I value your comment. Thanks Bruce.

  6. The angle brush at "swat speed" is new to me, Julie. Will have to try it when I can locate a short handled angle brush!
    Mushing with a knife is also on my list of "to do's". I have been trying all sorts of approaches to let the paint interact and do its beautiful thing.
    Thanks, Julie!! :)
    ps...I really like that little touch of blue in the Apple Trio.

    1. LOVE your "swat speed" funny and so expressive... I must use it sometime. You can use a regular bright or flat, Dean. I have found the angle gives me a lovely "feel" as I do it. They are craft brushes found at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
      I love that little touch of blue too. It is a singer!

  7. Your blog is a treasure for the art community!

    1. What a lovely thing to say, Lauren. I thank you very much.

  8. Much to think about and practise - many thanks, Julie! And love your painting - you are masterful not only with edges but with vibrant, compelling color as well.

    1. Your new painting made my jaw drop. It is brilliant!
      I really do appreciate your very generous comment.

  9. Because of your previous post, I spent the whole day reading about values, tonal range, tints, shades, colour theory, etc. After that I changed all my paintings into black&white to see the grayscale of them (surprisingly enough they were quite rich in value). I copied your post to start the exercises and then, just to loose the tension, I made 2 quick watercolour paintings. See what you done, you made me forget about everything else and have fun :) Tomorrow, I will start doing some exercises.
    Thank you so much Julie for such a kind and generous help!! Oh, and I love the mushing painting!
    Hugs and Smiles.

    1. Hi Konstantina - see my reply to Crimson Leaves above about watercolor.
      Your comment made me very happy about the discoveries you made. I really appreciate you taking the time to share.
      Hugs and smiles, back at you.

  10. Still amazing me with your kindness and giving teaching skills. Folks are getting this for free! Thank goodness we are all so unique and have different ideas and tastes. Something for everyone out there. You are such a great teacher and I appreciate you taking your time to think these processes and visuals out to relay them to us. Thanks also for your tip on the sore hand too. Think I am going to have to go that route. I have lots of old rags to start with. All the best to you!!

    1. Hi Carol - good to hear you will try out the rag to clean your brush on. I keep the areas of color separated to some degree so make sure you have a least a light and dark side. Nice of you to speak so positively about my post. Thank you.

  11. Thank you. You are not only informative, but so much fun.

    1. I like the idea of it being fun. Thanks Sharon. I love your birds nest.

  12. My computer has been broken (sobs silently) but is OK now (smiles)...I'm trying to catch up, and I can see I've missed masses of good stuff ... I'm so unique that I'm almost extinct...BUT... mark my words, I will begin painting in the next 12 months!

    (Waves frantically and dashes off to do more catching up!)

    1. So that's what happened. We visit the same blogs and I noticed it wasn't only mine missing your insightful and humorous comments. Thanks for visiting and I enjoyed the little trip back in time on your blog.
      Waving back at you... but in a more ladylike way!

  13. A beautiful apple trio, Julie!!! I enjoy reading your posts so much..!!

  14. wonderfully warm color and superb brushwork! You always come up with the most informative blog posts! Thanks for sharing it all.

    1. I like the colors in your post today too. thanks for the complement and comment, Mary.

  15. Experiment, it will set you free......what wonderful, true words. I love it all! Thank you

    1. Ah, good you understand the truth of that.
      Thank YOU , Helen

  16. Julia, thank you so much! I will do this as soon as I can!!

  17. Thank you so much for generously sharing! I've tried here and there to experiment because I recognize that my work is too tight and not how I want it to look. But, then I usually just give in and resort back to my old cookie cutter habits where I feel safe.:) Thank you for giving some specific instructions on how I may be able to break away!

  18. You are welcome, Lavon and I appreciate the comment.

  19. Hey Julie, Thanks for the lesson. I tend to forget the importance of brushstrokes with watercolour, but they are equally important! Thanks for the reminder.
    Happy Painting.

  20. These apples are so gorgeous-thick and juicy strokes of beautiful color and composition.

  21. Dear Julie. You are a very generous and modest person.. but please consider yourself an expert !! ( I read below that you don't ! ) Thank you so much for your tips and teaching, it is incredible that you are taking your time to do so , shows your very kind and giving nature. And of course the apple painting is fabulous vibrant and alive. xx

  22. You are one person who is inspiring me to get more technical in what I am trying to do! Fabulous learning time from your post today, thanks a lot!


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